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Lance Armstrong's Confession

18 Jan 2013, 12:00am by SITI NORFAIRUZ S. MOHAMED


US cyclist Lance Armstrong admitted in a television interview, broadcast on Thursday, that he used performance-enhancing drugs to win the Tour de France.

He told TV host Oprah Winfrey that he could not have won the race seven times without doping.

The interview was recorded on Monday and aired on the Oprah Winfrey Network.

"In your opinion was it humanly possible to win the Tour de France without doping, seven times in a row?" Winfrey asked the disgraced cyclist.

"Not in my opinion," replied Armstrong.

Wearing a blue blazer and open-neck shirt, Armstrong was direct and matter-of-fact, neither pained nor defensive.

There were no tears and very few laughs.

"I view this situation as one big lie that I repeated a lot of times," said Armstrong.

He dodged few questions and refused to implicate anyone else.

"I don't want to necessarily talk about anybody else, I made my decisions, they are my mistake and I'm sitting here today to acknowledge that and to say I'm sorry for that," he told Winfrey.

Whether his televised confession will help or hurt Armstrong's bruised reputation and his already-tenuous defence in at least two pending lawsuits, and possibly a third, remains to be seen.

Either way, a story that seemed too good to be true - cancer survivor returns to win one of sport's most gruelling events seven times in a row - was revealed to be just that.

Winfrey got right to the point when the interview began, asking for yes-or-no answers to five questions.

Did Armstrong take banned substances? "Yes."

Did that include the blood-booster EPO? "Yes."

Did he do blood doping and use transfusions? "Yes."

Did he use testosterone, cortisone and human growth hormone? "Yes."

Did he take banned substances or blood dope in all his Tour wins? "Yes."

At one bar in Austin, Texas, people gathered around a television screen to watch Armstrong make his admissions.

"He's being completely and totally honest, so I don't condone what he did and it's a little late on the confessing. But I'm glad he's finally coming out and doing it," said one woman.

Another commented: "I can't believe he denied it all that time. And what benefit is it to come out with it now? Who benefits now?"

In his climb to the top, Armstrong cast aside team mates who questioned his tactics, yet swore he raced clean and tried to silence anyone who said otherwise.

Ruthless and rich enough to settle any score, no place seemed beyond his reach - courtrooms, the court of public opinion, even along the roads of his sport's most prestigious race.

Armstrong said he started doping in mid-1990s but did not when he finished third in his comeback attempt.

Anti-doping officials have said nothing short of a confession under oath - "not talking to a talk-show host," is how World Anti-Doping Agency director general David Howman put it - could prompt a reconsideration of Armstrong's lifetime ban from sanctioned events.

He has also had discussions with officials at the US Anti-Doping Agency, whose 1,000-page report in October included testimony from nearly a dozen former team mates and led to stripping Armstrong of his Tour titles.

Shortly after, he lost nearly all his endorsements, was forced to walk away from the Livestrong cancer charity he founded in 1997, and just this week was stripped of his bronze medal from the 2000 Olympics.