This story contains language you may find offensive.
Shamed cyclist Lance Armstrong believes the time is coming when he should be forgiven for doping and lying – and told the BBC he would probably do it again.
Armstrong, 43, was stripped of his record seven Tour de France titles and banned from sport for life by the United States Anti-Doping Agency (Usada) in August 2012.
“If I was racing in 2015, no, I wouldn’t do it again because I don’t think you have to,” he said.
“If you take me back to 1995, when doping was completely pervasive, I would probably do it again.”
Speaking in his first television interview since confessing to Oprah Winfrey that he had used performance-enhancing drugs during his career, Armstrong tells BBC sports editor Dan Roan:
- The “fallout” since his confession has been “heavy” and he now lives his life at 10mph, not 100.
- His decision to dope was “bad”, but taken at “an imperfect time”.
- He still feels like he won the seven Tour titles he was stripped of.
- He raced clean during his second comeback in 2009 and 2010.
Armstrong had been the subject of doping allegations since he returned from cancer in 1996 to dominate one of the world’s toughest events from 1999 to 2005.
He aggressively denied the claims until Usada’s 200-page “reasoned decision” – complete with 1,000 additional pages of evidence – was released in October 2012.
Armstrong finally confessed in a two-part interview with US talk-show host Winfrey in January, 2013.
He was forced to step away from the cancer charity he had founded and has since kept his counsel, save for a handful of print interviews.
Speaking in his hometown of Austin, Texas, Armstrong said “the fallout” from his confession had been “heavy, tough, trying and required patience”.
The father-of-five said his life had “thinned out” and “slowed from 100mph to 10”, but added he would like to return to “50, 55”.
As for whether the world was ready to accept his return to public life, Armstrong said: “Selfishly, I would say ‘yeah, we’re getting close to that time’.
“But that’s me, my word doesn’t matter any more. What matters is what people collectively think, whether that’s the cycling community, the cancer community.
“Listen, of course I want to be out of timeout, what kid doesn’t?”
Armstrong was asked if he would make the same choice to cheat that he made in 1995.
He said: “When I made the decision, when my team made that decision, when the whole peloton made that decision, it was a bad decision and an imperfect time.
“But it happened. And I know what happened because of that. I know what happened to the sport, I saw its growth.”
Click here to read more.
Dan Roan and Matt Slater