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Lance Armstrong Says That Given The Same Options, He Would Probably Dope Again

Lance Armstrong Says That Given The Same Options, He Would Probably Dope Again
By Gary Reilly
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Lance Armstrong has said that if he was brought back to 1995 and given the same options, he would once again make the choice to engage in doping.

In his first televised interview since admitting that he took part in a systematic doping, the cyclist has told the BBC that, although he believes doping in cycling is no longer necessary, the landscape of the sport in 1995 was such that if he chose not to dope he would have been left behind.

Asked if he was put in the position once more and given a similar choice of whether to dope or not, Armstrong's response was perhaps not what many would have expected him to say.

If I was racing in 2015, no, I wouldn't do it again, because I don't think you have to.

If you take me back to 1995, when it was completely and totally pervasive, I'd probably do it again. People don't like to hear that.

That's the honest answer but it's an answer that needs some explanation.


Armstrong's assertion is that the use of EPO was becoming so widespread by 1995 that he, and his team, felt it necessary to follow the heard as it were. Whether that answer will satisfy the large number of Armstrong's critics is another matter.


He went on to assert that his decision to dope had a widespread positive influence on the sport of cycling at the time, before, also suggesting that the growth of his Livestrong foundation would not have been possible were it not for the knock on effect of his decision to dope.

When I made the decision - when my team-mates made that decision, when the whole peloton made that decision - it was a bad decision and an imperfect time. But it happened.

When Lance Armstrong did that, I know what happened. I know what happened to cycling from 1999 to 2005. I saw its growth, I saw its expansion.

I know what happened to the cycling industry. I know what happened to [his bike supplier and sponsor] Trek Bicycles - $100m (£66.5m) in sales, to $1bn in sales.

I know what happened to my foundation, from raising no money to raising $500m, serving three million people.

Armstrong conceded that the way in which he dealt with his critics at the time is what he would change.


I would want to change the man that did those things, maybe not the decision, but the way he acted. The way he treated other people, the way he just couldn't stop fighting. It was great to fight in training, great to fight in the race, but you don't need to fight in a press conference, or an interview, or a personal interaction. I'd be fighting with you right now - I would be taking you on.

That's the man that really needed to change and can never come back. So it's not an easy question, and I want to be honest with you. It's not a popular answer, but what really needed to change was the way that guy acted.

You can see the interview on the BBC website, while a full half hour documentary entitled Lance Armstrong: The Road Ahead, will be broadcast on BBC News at 8:30 p.m. on Thursday, 29 January.

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