Armstrong admits doping to Oprah

Shamed former Tour de France champion Lance Armstrong admitted taking several banned performance enhancing substances, in a television interview broadcast Thursday.

US cyclist Lance Armstrong speaks at the begining of the annual Team Livestrong Challenge in Austin, Texas on October 21, 2012. Armstrong admitted taking several banned performance enhancing substances, in a television interview broadcast Thursday.

Armstrong told US talk show host Oprah Winfrey that he had used blood transfusions and taken EPO, testosterone, cortisone, human growth hormone in all seven of his Tour victories starting in the 1990s.

He also confessed to using an array of banned substances in his seven Tour de France triumphs from 1999 to 2005, but denied using drugs in his comeback in 2009.

Armstrong, stripped of all his cycling achievements from August of 1998, told Winfrey that he was angered by the US Anti-Doping Agency's charge that he continued to dope when he returned to pro cycling and raced in the Tour de France in 2009 and 2010.

Attempting to explain his drug-tainted past, Armstrong sat down with Winfrey for his first interview since being stripped last year of his record seven Tour titles and banned from the sport for life.

It was recorded on Monday in Austin, Texas, Armstrong's hometown, and was to be aired in two segments on Thursday and Friday on Winfrey's OWN television channel.

"I know the truth. The truth isn't what was out there, the truth isn't what I said... This story was so perfect for so long... you overcome the disease, you win the Tour de France seven times, you have a happy marriage, you have children. I mean, it's just this mythic, perfect story," Armstrong said.

"And it wasn't true."

Armstrong told Winfrey he didn't believe it was possible to win the Tour in the years he raced without doping, and challenged the characterization of the doping program on his US Postal Service team as the most sophisticated ever.

Hours before the kickoff, Armstrong saw another accolade withdrawn as the International Olympic Committee said it had asked him to return the cycling time-trial bronze medal he won in 2000.

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Writer: AFP
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