In an exclusive interview with Mike Tirico, Lance Armstrong shared what he learned and how he’s moving on after the performance-enhancing drugs scandal that rocked the Tour de France and the entire sport of cycling.
Armstrong candidly said, “I don’t want to make excuses for myself that everybody did it or we never could have won without it. Those are all true, but the buck stops with me and I’m the one who made the decision to do what I did.”
“Primarily, I wouldn’t change the lessons that I’ve learned. I don’t learn all the lessons if I didn’t act that way. And I don’t get investigated and sanctioned, if I don’t act the way I act. If I just doped and didn’t say a thing, none of that would’ve happened.”
“I was asking for them to come after me and it was an easy target…It’s taken years and years of introspective, and work and therapy and just understanding what it meant.”
When asked when if he remembered the first time he did a performance-enhancing drug of any type, Armstrong said the first time he took a legitimate banned substance was in 1993, but had taken other undetectable substances as early as 1991.
“Was there a feeling that if you didn’t do it, you couldn’t compete?” Tirico asked.
“That wasn’t a feeling, that was a fact,” Armstrong said.
As for denying his PED usage for years, Armstrong put it simply: To him, there was no difference in attacking in the mountains vs. attacking in the press conference.
“I couldn’t turn it off. I mean, huge mistake. We’d all love to go back in life and have a few do overs. Never should’ve taken it on, especially knowing what most of what they said was true…I knew the truth, but it’s tough to stop (lying) once you start.”
You can watch the entire “Lance Armstrong: Next Stage” special here or the video embedded above.