Lance Armstrong’s pre-recorded interview with Oprah just aired, and Armstrong flatly admitted to using performance enhancing drugs. Oprah began the interview with a series of yes-or-no questions about whether or not Armstrong had used a variety of PEDs during his career. The answer to each question was a simple, “Yes.” He went on to say that he had not doped since 2005.
In July 1999, when Lance Armstrong won a shock first mountain stage victory in the Tour de France, AFP’s report noted “the inevitable suspicion which always surrounds such an exceptional performance.”
On Thursday, after a decade-and-a-half of bluster, that suspicion proved justified. Lance Armstrong finally admitted the worst-kept secret in sport: that his record seven Tour de France victories were powered by banned drugs.
Sources said that, “Armstrong attracted all manner of reflection after he left the best climbers in the Tour de France for dead on the climb to Sestrieres.”
The win was the first of a series that saw him dominate the race for seven years, during which time he would haughtily dismiss any hint his achievements were drug-tainted and claim he was victim of a “personal vendetta”.
With no proof that he was taking banned substances, Armstrong rounded on his critics after winning his seventh and last Tour on the Champs-Elysees on July 24, 2005.
Armstrong said, “To all the cynics, I’m sorry for you… I’m sorry you can’t believe in miracles. This is a great sporting event and hard work wins it.”
Disdain and accusations of doping were heaped on his achievements, despite his recovery from cancer that threatened not just his cycling career but his life.
Armstrong stated, “A boo is a lot louder than a cheer. If you have 10 people cheering and one person booing, all you hear is the booing.”
After his seventh Tour victory, Armstrong was lauded by then-US president George W. Bush, who told him: “Our country and the whole world are incredibly proud of you.”
Armstrong did refuse to refer to himself as a “cheat,” however, saying that he saw himself as having competed on a “level playing field,” which is an entirely reasonable thing to say. He also adamantly denied calling Betsy Andreu “fat.” Boom, again.