Lance Armstrong: "I’ve paid a high price" for doping

Disgraced former racers believes he has not been treated fairly

by John Stevenson   November 11, 2013  

Lance Armstrong (pic courtesy Photosport International)

Lance Armstrong believes he has not been treated fairly in the aftermath of being found by the United States Anti-Doping Agency to have masterminded “the most sophisticated, professionalised and successful doping programme sport has ever seen”.

Armstrong told the BBC World Service’s Tim Franks that he had suffered “massive personal loss” while others who had confessed to doping “have truly capitalised on this story”.

But the 42-year-old American, who was stripped of his seven Tour de France victories in 2012, said that if he is treated fairly, he will testify with "100% transparency and honesty" at any future inquiry into doping.

“If everyone gets the death penalty, then I’ll take the death penalty,” he said.

“If everyone gets a free pass, I’m happy to take a free pass. If everyone gets six months, then I’ll take my six months.”

Armstrong was not simply found to have consistently used performance-enhancing drugs throughout his career, but to have coordinated the doping programmes at his US Postal and Discovery Channel teams. The USADA found that he had “ultimate control over not only his own personal drug use, but over the doping culture of his team.”

According to the USADA’s Reasoned Decision, Armstrong had final responsibility for hiring doctors and other staff to coordinate the doping programme at his team and his goal of repeatedly winning the Tour de France led him “to expect and to require that his teammates would likewise use drugs to support his goals if not their own.”

The consequences for Armstrong have been, unsurprisingly, severe. The emergence of the full details of his doping activity has opened the door to lawsuits from the former team-mate Floyd Landis and US Justice department, insurance companies that covered his win bonuses and the Sunday Times.

“It’s been tough,” he said. “It’s been real tough. I’ve paid a high price in terms of my standing within the sport, my reputation, certainly financially because the lawsuits have continued to pile up.

“I have experienced massive personal loss, massive loss of wealth while others have truly capitalised on this story.”

Armstrong said that the sport of professional cycling had also been adversely affected by revelations that the sport was driven by doping in the 1990s and 2000s.

“Do I think that this process has been good for cycling?” he asked. “No. I don’t think our sport has been served well by going back 15 years.

“I don’t think that any sport, or any political scenario, is well served going back 15 years.

“And if you go back 15 years, you might as well go back 30.”

Armstrong retired from cycling in 2005, but made a comeback in 2009. He rode two Tours de France before retiring for good in 2011.

While evidence from his 2009 comeback was not central to the USADA case against Armstrong, the agency documents substantial evidence of a continuing relationship with doping doctor Michele Ferrari in 2009, and delaying submitting himself to testing.

The full interview with Lance Armstrong will be broadcast on the BBC World Service Newshour at 13:00 and 14:00 GMT.

52 user comments

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He cheated and bullied his way into a fortune and level of influence that he didn't deserve... pre-cancer he was an OK, but unspectacular rider, who could have served his career in the peleton and had a decent retirement, but there was nothing in his stats to suggest that he could have achieved seven TDF wins without doping. And the doping programme around Lance seems to have been head-and-shoulders above the other teams, even above other riders on his team (if the stories are to be believed about the Lance Inner Circle).
So, if Lance had been doping on a level playing field and hadn't so viciously attacked potential critics in life changing ways, then maybe, just maybe, we'd have some time for his claims and ongoing appeals for clemancy... but his cheating was on a different level to everyone else who was doing it... so he must be dealt with differently.
To be fair to Lance, I think that there are definitely others who were implicit in his doping (within his inner circle and in the UCI), who should also be dealt with similarly harshly, so hopefully then he won't feel as though he's being treated so unfairly then... maybe some UCI officials banned for life and chased for compensation?

www.mombee.com - Muddy bikes, Road bikes and Family rides in the South West

posted by Mombee [81 posts]
11th November 2013 - 14:11

19 Likes

Of all the dopers this one man gained the highest rewards for his doping.

It seems only proper that he should now be paying the highest price.

Simples! Smile

Shay

posted by shay cycles [297 posts]
11th November 2013 - 14:22

28 Likes

Two names to respond to his claim of unfairness....

Filippo Simeoni
Christophe Bassons

Now go f*** yourself you bullying, manipulative, scare mongering scum.

You are a CANCER of the sport. You even cheated cancer survivors who believed in you. I cannot put into words the disgust I feel for your sorry arse. Crawl away and leave us alone you tumour Angry At Wits End

Strax

jdstrachan@yahoo.co.uk's picture

posted by jdstrachan@yaho... [53 posts]
11th November 2013 - 14:25

27 Likes

Alternatively, he should stop fucking whinging and just be happy to be alive and healthy.

posted by allez neg [4 posts]
11th November 2013 - 14:27

22 Likes

In addition to the above, as some have pointed out that "he was only doing what everyone else was doing"...

Was everyone else bullying and threatening journalists, soigneurs, riders, friends, family etc? No not the way he did, and NO ONE else profited the way he did.

He gets treated exceptionally because he behaved exceptionally.

Jog on Armstrong

Strax

jdstrachan@yahoo.co.uk's picture

posted by jdstrachan@yaho... [53 posts]
11th November 2013 - 14:31

13 Likes

I'm interested in the fact he's sold his house. I'm guessing but I would imagine he's trying to settle as many lawsuits as possible and if he can't, he'll declare bankruptcy. Meanwhile, his remaining investments well be in third party bank accounts or similar.

posted by Tom Amos [246 posts]
11th November 2013 - 14:37

15 Likes

I agree with Farrell on this one, he has not, compared to other cheats, been dealt with fairly BUT he has brought it all on himself.

There are no stupid questions, just stupid people.

posted by stumps [3202 posts]
11th November 2013 - 14:53

21 Likes

The man is hilarious, but he also has some good PR people. Most people won't buy this spiel this time round, but it's a process that will be repeated, particularly if he contributes to a truth and reconciliation process. Eventually, public opinion on him will soften a bit, and then a bit more, and he might stand a chance of making some money again.

As for fairness - as others have pointed out, it depends if you take account just of his doping (in which case the punishment is not consistent with others) or of the massive profits he made from it, and his brutal approach to those who tried to out him. With all that taken account of, it seems pretty fair, to be honest.

posted by step-hent [717 posts]
11th November 2013 - 14:57

27 Likes

shay cycles wrote:
Of all the dopers this one man gained the highest rewards for his doping.

It seems only proper that he should now be paying the highest price.

Simples! Smile

I totally agree and it should be on a logarithmic scale!

posted by Charles_Hunter [119 posts]
11th November 2013 - 15:10

13 Likes

stumps wrote:
I agree with Farrell on this one, he has not, compared to other cheats, been dealt with fairly BUT he has brought it all on himself.

The other cheats have been dealt with like Mob footsoldiers who did deals for reduced sentences in return for giving evidence.

Armstrong been dealt with like a Don who has been caught bang to rights, but has refused to cooperate with the authorities.

Armstrong didn't just dope, he organised doping in his team, supplied other riders and advised them to, for example, go to Ferrari for advice and products.

John Stevenson's picture

posted by John Stevenson [1520 posts]
11th November 2013 - 15:40

18 Likes

“the most sophisticated, professionalised and successful doping programme sport has ever seen”. Maybe the most successful doping program that has been caught?

posted by glock59 [10 posts]
11th November 2013 - 15:55

20 Likes

Reading "Wheelmen" right now. Highly recommend it.

What an a##hole. He deserves everything he's getting, twice over.

posted by MNgraveur [59 posts]
11th November 2013 - 16:05

15 Likes

Quote:
I read lots of things about Lance and from Lance. I have no sympathy for Lance. He just continues to show what a user he is, so don't patronise me.

Hi Colin - apologies if you thought that was aimed at you and patronising, it wasn't meant to be at all. It was sort of an add on to what I'd written, just highlighting the interviews and Cav's comments. Wasn't commenting on what you said or indeed my thoughts on the interview or Cav's book so sorry if it came out wrong, no offence meant.

Cheers

posted by crazy-legs [652 posts]
11th November 2013 - 16:06

13 Likes

glock59 wrote:
“the most sophisticated, professionalised and successful doping programme sport has ever seen”. Maybe the most successful doping program that has been caught?

Technically speaking the most successful doping programme cycling has ever seen will never be caught Smile

William Black's picture

posted by William Black [196 posts]
11th November 2013 - 17:22

8 Likes

William Black wrote:
glock59 wrote:
“the most sophisticated, professionalised and successful doping programme sport has ever seen”. Maybe the most successful doping program that has been caught?

Technically speaking the most successful doping programme cycling has ever seen will never be caught Smile

I don't think you are 'technically' right. Liestrong won 7 TdFs and became the richest cyclist to ever live.

If there was a richer and/or more successful cyclist than Armstrong you may technically be right. Not even sure what your point is.

posted by Colin Peyresourde [1582 posts]
11th November 2013 - 18:17

8 Likes

Thanks for the apology. You are a gentleman and scholar. Though I didn't really take offence - just me being an opinionated so-and-so. Mr Liestrong does get me hot under the collar though. Angry

There is actually a part of me that does feel some sympathy (despite what I wrote). But it is elicited when I want to give it, not when he starts whining about things which he has brought on himself.

Primarily, if he really wanted to change public opinion about things he should just shut up and get on with doing the right things. If they strip him to nothing, then it for us to give him cloth. We decide when and how we do that, not him.

posted by Colin Peyresourde [1582 posts]
11th November 2013 - 18:37

17 Likes

Don't worry for Lance the next autobiography will be out soon enough

posted by jarredscycling [457 posts]
11th November 2013 - 19:41

16 Likes

I spent most of the previous decade being anti Lance, because he was boring and American.
Now I have a touch of sympathy.I don't see why his drug taking is worse than that any others.
He other behaviour, so called bullying is irrelevant to the discussion. I don't believe Hinault was exactly the pelotons' favourite either.
Cavendish is right. Time to move on. nothing to be gained and you cannot judge the past by the present's standards.

posted by mattsccm [310 posts]
11th November 2013 - 20:03

20 Likes

He's suffered. Really..Nov 11.....and he's suffered? Bah...

posted by CDK1962 [27 posts]
11th November 2013 - 20:24

13 Likes

Colin Peyresourde wrote:
Not even sure what your point is.

The most successful cheats are the one's that don't get caught.

Whilst Lance Armstrong made millions when he was at the height of his career he will now probably file for bankruptcy (how ever much he's not snaffled away somewhere), spend the remainder of this decade making out of court settlements and never compete again...so at the end of the day it wasn't all that successful. Nobody would have batted an eyelid if he won one or two, pulled out of a couple but being a big dumb Yank with his fatal ego he kept on winning.

You don't have to be terminally cynical or jaded if you were thinking there were/are teams currently riding that are implementing a bit more than marginal gains and have/are got away with it.

William Black's picture

posted by William Black [196 posts]
11th November 2013 - 20:24

8 Likes

Maybe they could have a mountain stage in next years TdF and climb his ego Rolling On The Floor

posted by viveLaPants [96 posts]
11th November 2013 - 23:43

6 Likes

William Black wrote:
Colin Peyresourde wrote:
Not even sure what your point is.

The most successful cheats are the one's that don't get caught.

Whilst Lance Armstrong made millions when he was at the height of his career he will now probably file for bankruptcy (how ever much he's not snaffled away somewhere), spend the remainder of this decade making out of court settlements and never compete again...so at the end of the day it wasn't all that successful. Nobody would have batted an eyelid if he won one or two, pulled out of a couple but being a big dumb Yank with his fatal ego he kept on winning.

You don't have to be terminally cynical or jaded if you were thinking there were/are teams currently riding that are implementing a bit more than marginal gains and have/are got away with it.

Oh, I don't doubt you on that front. I think the different between them and Armstrong is that those teams are not 'that' greedy yet. Armstrong is still the most successful/professional. He did set a new bar, and I don't think anyone has matched it. Whether in the future other teams/individuals will match that is a different matter, and whether still they don't get caught if they do is even another thing.

Any doping done at the moment has to be somewhat systematic to ensure that it meets/beats the blood passport. But I think the riders these days are far more aware that you can spoil the soup in many different ways….dobbing on your riders is one thing (spitting in the soup), but pissing in the soup by dominating everything is equally bad for the sport. I have no basis for knowing this, but teams do not seem to want to garner the sort of publicity LA did for his exploits. I'm also sure that the blood passport sort of makes it harder for a team/rider to dominate a whole season.

posted by Colin Peyresourde [1582 posts]
12th November 2013 - 0:00

12 Likes

geezus this bloke has the cheek of the devil, he deceives the public for over ten years, wins countless races through cheating and doping, confesses all to save his own worthless conscience, then has the gall to come out with this pile of $hit, the arrogance of this baffoon is breathtaking ..

posted by Karbon Kev [683 posts]
12th November 2013 - 9:24

13 Likes

William Black wrote:
Colin Peyresourde wrote:
Not even sure what your point is.

The most successful cheats are the one's that don't get caught.

Whilst Lance Armstrong made millions when he was at the height of his career he will now probably file for bankruptcy (how ever much he's not snaffled away somewhere), spend the remainder of this decade making out of court settlements and never compete again...so at the end of the day it wasn't all that successful. Nobody would have batted an eyelid if he won one or two, pulled out of a couple but being a big dumb Yank with his fatal ego he kept on winning.


yes yes yes, and he deserves EVERYTHING he (hopefully) gets ...

posted by Karbon Kev [683 posts]
12th November 2013 - 9:26

12 Likes

William Black wrote:
Colin Peyresourde wrote:
Not even sure what your point is.

The most successful cheats are the one's that don't get caught.

Whilst Lance Armstrong made millions when he was at the height of his career he will now probably file for bankruptcy (how ever much he's not snaffled away somewhere), spend the remainder of this decade making out of court settlements and never compete again...so at the end of the day it wasn't all that successful. Nobody would have batted an eyelid if he won one or two, pulled out of a couple but being a big dumb Yank with his fatal ego he kept on winning.


oops double post

posted by Karbon Kev [683 posts]
12th November 2013 - 9:28

11 Likes

It would be really good to hear Lance talk about 'atonement' a lot more. He could still do so much good - even now. He COULD BE FORGIVEN if he set out how he was going to make up for his mistakes rather than whinge. Never mind about how anyone else has been treated. He has a very high profile, he could use that in a very positive way. If he wrote a book 'His Story' and donated ALL the profits to some kind of antidoping cause, he could achieve a huge amount.

posted by doubledex [29 posts]
12th November 2013 - 14:19

13 Likes

Still an arrogant dude!!! Hopeless!!! Applause

posted by rvkfour [3 posts]
13th November 2013 - 2:50

5 Likes

“I don’t think that any sport, or any political scenario, is well served going back 15 years."

Ahhh, so let's forget about all the lessons history has taught us. Armstrong should be put in an asylum and not given airtime. Does ANYONE sympathise with him? Agreed, Doubledex, some degree of atonement might help his cause.

Sam

posted by zagatosam [50 posts]
13th November 2013 - 9:53

2 Likes

'He other behaviour, so called bullying is irrelevant to the discussion.'

It really isn't.

posted by andyp [1368 posts]
13th November 2013 - 16:03

3 Likes

andyp wrote:
'He other behaviour, so called bullying is irrelevant to the discussion.'

It really isn't.

So tell us all then, oh wise one, what punishment should the UCI be handing out to cyclists found guilty of "bullying" or "arrogance"?

posted by farrell [1914 posts]
13th November 2013 - 17:09

1 Like