Armstrong: My fall from grace cleaned up cycling - but it wasn't worth it

Disgraced Tour winner describes himself as a 'convict of the road', forced to take performance enhancing drugs

by Sarah Barth   June 29, 2014  

Lance Armstrong and Oprah Winfrey Photo by Maryse Alberti, Courtesy of Sony Pictures Classics

The ordeal of being found out for doping was ‘not worth it’ despite the effect it has had on cleaning up the sport, Lance Armstrong has said.

Speaking of the behaviour among pro racers in the years up to his eventual lifetime ban and revocation of his seven Tour de France titles, Armstrong insisted that he considered himself a ‘convict of the road’, forced to take all the enhancements available to him.

Speaking to Colorado Quarterly, Armstrong said that doping was the competitive advantage over other riders. “Of course, you always want science to be ahead of where doping would be,” he said. “But at that time, science was way, way behind.

“There was a substance, EPO, that was tremendously helpful, up to the tune of 10 percent (in enhanced performance), and just as important, it was completely undetectable. And, of course, it ran like wildfire through the peloton (professional cycling).”

Asked whether his fall from grace was ultimately worth it for the good of the sport, Armstrong replied: “That’s a great question, and one that I ask myself every day. My answer is not a popular one. My answer is that it wasn’t worth it.”

Earlier this month Armstrong gave a sworn testimonial about his years of doping as part of SCA Promotions’ attempt to recoup millions of dollars it paid him for his Tour wins.

At a hearing in Austin, Armstrong gave a sworn deposition, although a protective order prevented reporting of the testimony.

Armstrong has long fought to block SCA’s bid to recover $12 million in costs and bonuses it paid him.

28 user comments

Oldest firstNewest firstBest rated

Quote:
Armstrong insisted that he considered himself a ‘convict of the road’,

Has he started riding for Rapha? Forçat de la route, indeed.

posted by Nick T [757 posts]
29th June 2014 - 13:01

like this
Like (63)

I first thought he was going to say that the cheating wasn't worth it in the end, but no, it was the sport that was in the wrong for catching him? Thinking

posted by CarlosFerreiro [54 posts]
29th June 2014 - 13:07

like this
Like (99)

It has cleaned up the History books, not necessarily the tour.

Between the S and the LOW

bikeboy76's picture

posted by bikeboy76 [1186 posts]
29th June 2014 - 14:08

like this
Like (74)

At Wits End how I feel about it!

posted by billybob56 [10 posts]
29th June 2014 - 14:10

like this
Like (59)

Painting himself as the victim is just a further insult to the cycling community and cycling fans. I hope he lives a sad and lonely life full of regret until he just admits full responsibility for his own actions.

Claud Butler Regent 2013

posted by EarsoftheWolf [17 posts]
29th June 2014 - 14:52

like this
Like (88)

as my late father would have said,what a prize cunt

posted by seanboy [23 posts]
29th June 2014 - 15:18

like this
Like (106)

Not worth it for him perhaps (what a surprise!) but the rest of us can decide for ourselves if it was worth it. I know I'll never be a fan of a bike racer, but I can still enjoy the sport, more so with that arrogant prick removed.

posted by Derny [35 posts]
29th June 2014 - 17:17

like this
Like (68)

Playing the victim card now. Seriously Lance just F off now

posted by gazza_d [183 posts]
29th June 2014 - 18:03

like this
Like (89)

twat

still on the 3rd switch-back of Bwlch !

posted by therevokid [679 posts]
29th June 2014 - 18:24

like this
Like (61)

Wow, I thought he was trying to portray himself as rehabilitated so that they would let him race in triathlons again?

How arrogant is he?!

posted by Whitters1986 [5 posts]
29th June 2014 - 18:35

like this
Like (69)

This will be unpopular... However I am not bothered.

Armstrong has done a lot of good, does it make his actions towards others right? Of course not, a bully is a bully. But I have less respect for the bottless idiots like landis etc. I loved watching the tour in his era, battling with Pantani, it was ridiculous yes, but compulsive viewing. As for calling the guy a cunt, that is pathetic as he is not responsible for doping, I am not condoning his actions but let's be objective about it. He is not Stalin, Hitler or any other type of mass murderer, so let's get real it's sport.
As for the people who were bullied and ridden over well that's between them and LA. From what I know of LA the man I respect him, don't particularly like him but I definitely respect him.
On the other hand I find Walsh to be a sanctimonious t##t

I am still a LA bike rider fan. And I still see him as 7 times TdF winner.

He regrets being caught, not what he did. Just like every other human that's been caught for anything, including you, think about that before you start with your warrior. I am already LOLing at the replies to come.

The trouble with real life is that there is no danger music.

The Cable Guy

Cyclist's picture

posted by Cyclist [128 posts]
29th June 2014 - 19:32

like this
Like (85)

Quote:
The ordeal of being found out for doping was ‘not worth it’ despite the effect it has had on cleaning up the sport, Lance Armstrong has said.

Poor little Lanceypoos.

KalaBlinds 'cos we all need our beauty sleep.

posted by don simon [123 posts]
29th June 2014 - 20:59

like this
Like (60)

I have to say LA did win 7 tours, it was a level playing field because they were all doping, if you remove his wins then remove the whole peloton of his tour wins. I don't like what he did in bullying and I'm glad doping is reducing all the time be he was far from alone.

HMCC

Beefy's picture

posted by Beefy [107 posts]
29th June 2014 - 22:11

like this
Like (72)

I think him getting caught was probably worth it. Perhaps I'm outdated in my way of thinking, but I like to imagine truth is worth a little more than an aggressive construction of lies, deception and intimidating cover-ups.

It's generally a bit more straight-foward, at any rate.

posted by Quince [100 posts]
30th June 2014 - 0:22

like this
Like (44)

It's a sad story that will always be in the minds of fans. He has to live with what he's done, nothing can ever change the feeling of betrayal we feel.

posted by Beaufort [118 posts]
30th June 2014 - 6:59

like this
Like (32)

Say what you like about Armstrong but in the end it's the classic deal with the devil at the crossroads and fascinating for that. It would make a fantastic film. Oh hang on...

Silly me. You're probably right....

MercuryOne's picture

posted by MercuryOne [1031 posts]
30th June 2014 - 8:04

like this
Like (37)

Lance sucks balls

posted by anarchy [52 posts]
30th June 2014 - 9:44

like this
Like (48)

The ordeal of being found out for doping was ‘not worth it’ despite the effect it has had on cleaning up the sport

well DUH, wasn't that very obvious? what a twat ..

posted by Karbon Kev [667 posts]
30th June 2014 - 10:04

like this
Like (30)

At least he's being honest about it, he could have said "Oh yeah, it's great that the sport is now cleaned up at my considerable expense" and we'd all go "well that's a load of shit!". Could have saved himself all this grief if he'd been a bit more honest earlier on.

posted by nicholassmith [57 posts]
30th June 2014 - 10:54

like this
Like (37)

This is news?

posted by Simmo72 [274 posts]
30th June 2014 - 12:54

like this
Like (48)

Simmo72 wrote:
This is news?

posted by zanf [420 posts]
30th June 2014 - 12:59

like this
Like (30)

No matter how many times apologists repeat the lie, it's still a lie...

they
weren't
all
doping.

posted by Wrongfoot [21 posts]
30th June 2014 - 13:09

like this
Like (45)

The "level playing field" argument is not a good one. Sure, the top riders like Lance had access to the drugs and, key thing, medical support. Many young riders (who had access to the drugs but not the doctors) died in that era - heart stops in the night with blood like raspberry jam.

Sure, Lance wasn't the only one, but he hung on long after the others, denying until he was finally forced to admit the truth.

Someone pointed out that Pierre Rolland's stage-winning time up Alpe d'Huez in 2011 would've netted him 40th place on the same stage in the 2001 tour - despite the 2011 stage being much shorter. Times have changed.

posted by SteppenHerring [169 posts]
30th June 2014 - 18:17

like this
Like (30)

Beefy wrote:
I have to say LA did win 7 tours, it was a level playing field because they were all doping, if you remove his wins then remove the whole peloton of his tour wins. I don't like what he did in bullying and I'm glad doping is reducing all the time be he was far from alone.

I'm pretty sure there is no official winner for those Tours de France.

posted by DrJDog [81 posts]
30th June 2014 - 18:17

like this
Like (35)

Wrongfoot wrote:
No matter how many times apologists repeat the lie, it's still a lie...

they
weren't
all
doping.

It wasn't even a "level playing field" amongst those who were doping either. They didn't all have access to the chemical technology and support that LA had and they probably didn't have the bosses of the UCI in their pocket, courtesy of 'donations' of $kkk's, thus avoiding effective testing and reporting.

posted by Joeinpoole [187 posts]
30th June 2014 - 23:36

like this
Like (26)

i actually admire his honesty. oh the irony Kiss

joc's picture

posted by joc [71 posts]
1st July 2014 - 5:03

like this
Like (19)

Sorry but I'm with "Cyclist" ^^ on this one.

LA has been made a scapegoat for an entire generation of dopers. Yes it's a bed he made himself but actually pointing all the fingers at Lance and saying "yep, all his fault" ignores the wider issues.

Watch the film Pantani - Accidental Death of a Cyclist. In there they touch on the doping issue and the telling comment is this:
"It wasn't just a couple of rotten apples - the entire apple cart was rotten."
It was a systematic abuse and it came from sponsors, managers, doctors, riders and even the media all working together. I don't think Lance ever had the UCI in his pocket, frankly I think at that time the UCI was simply a mixture of naïve and woefully incompetent - charged on the one hand with growing and promoting the sport while on the other hand attempting to keep it clean and failing miserably. They even unwittingly sanctioned the use of EPO by creating that 50% haemocrit test - basically a green light to dope up to 50% and hey, you're all alright (this was before the test for EPO). Amazing how during that time you'd find that every cyclist in the peloton had a haemocrit of 49.8%...

Lance was the gateway to a whole continent where previously (in spite of Lemond) very few people were "into" cycling in that way, certainly nowhere close to the love affair that Europe has always had with the sport. Lance changed all that so why was anyone going to attempt to bring him down? More exposure to a new audience = more sponsorship = more money all round. Everyone was in on it, Lance just happened to be a big (and very media friendly) fish in a small pond.

posted by crazy-legs [486 posts]
1st July 2014 - 20:21

like this
Like (15)

It's somewhat vain for oneself to consider themselves graceful from the outset. So why consider himself "Fallen"? I believe the "Fall from Grace" is a term actually invented and coined by the popular media.

No -- History is History and like it or not it will always be a part of us. It's ridiculous removing Titles and shunning someone thereafter. That era still exists in records and peoples' memories. It's unreasonable to wipe the slate, for lack of a better term, clean. Most people, and particularly those big-mouth cyclists who've probably had much to say in the matter, don't and won't understand this.

Human memory and perception is such a feable thing. As one era draws to a close there are bound to be many others, in different forms, yielding scandalous and disreputable behaviour because it is Human Nature.

Let's face it Cycling isn't a B&W sport and Cyclists (Humans) aren't the brightest people around. (And the same is true for most sports.)

posted by dogcc [98 posts]
1st July 2014 - 21:53

like this
Like (4)