The words coming out of his mouth are calm and measured, but even as he relaxes outside his home in Aspen, Colorado, enjoying a beer in the late afternoon sun, it is clear that Lance Armstrong is angry. Tired. Frustrated.
Describing cycling as “in no better place” than it was when he was last competing, the Texan, over the course of two hours, slowly, methodically vents his spleen at what he sees as the gross hypocrisy of the sport and its leadership.
There is, of course, Armstrong’s ongoing battle to get a reduction in his lifetime ban. The Texan discloses that talks are ongoing with Travis Tygart, the chief executive of the United States Anti-Doping Agency, although he claims that he is at a loss to know what more he can offer in the way of fresh evidence with which to bargain. “At this point,” he says, “after a federal investigation, a criminal investigation, a civil investigation, a federal agency, the threat of perjury and jail, an anti-doping agency threatening lifetime bans, books…We have got it all. Trust me, it’s all there.”
Most of all, though, there is the palpable sense of frustration, the unfairness Armstrong feels at being cast as cycling’s devil incarnate, its pariah, when others, who effectively made the same decisions to dope that he did, have already served their bans; some of them have even welcomed back into the sport with open arms. “I’m that guy everybody wants to pretend never lived,” he says. “But it happened, everything happened. We know what happened. Now it’s swung so far the other way… who’s that character in Harry Potter they can’t talk about? Voldemort? It’s like that on every level. If you watch the Tour on American TV, if you read about it, it’s as if you can’t mention him.”
Armstrong shakes his head. “It will not be the case forever because it can’t be the case forever. That won’t work, people aren’t stupid.”
SOURCE: Tom Cary