Armstrong feels he is cycling's "fall guy"

Wed Jan 30, 2013 11:39am EST
 
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(Please note strong language in 15th para)

PARIS (Reuters) - Lance Armstrong feels he is the scapegoat of a sport that has always been subject to cheating, the disgraced American cyclist said on Wednesday before criticizing International Cycling Union (UCI) president Pat McQuaid.

Asked whether he felt he was the 'fall guy for an entire sport/system', Armstrong, who was banned for life and stripped of his seven Tour de France titles for doping, told Cyclingnews (www.cyclingnews.com) in an exclusive email interview: "Actually, yes I do. But I understand why. We all make the beds we sleep in."

Armstrong, 41, confessed to doping this month, saying he used performance-enhancing drugs from the mid-1990s to 2005.

He believes, however, that every cycling generation cheated.

"My generation was no different than any other. The 'help' has evolved over the years but the fact remains that our sport is damn hard, the Tour was invented as a 'stunt'... and for a century all (riders) looked for advantages," he said.

"From hopping on trains a 100 years ago to EPO now. No generation was exempt or 'clean'. Not Merckx's, not Hinault's, not LeMond's, not Coppi's, not Gimondi's, not Indurain's, not Anquetil's, not Bartali's and not mine."

A truth and reconciliation process is the only way out of the crisis, according to Armstrong.

"It's not the best way, it's the only way. As much as I'm the eye of the storm this is not about one man, one team, one director," Armstrong said.   Continued...

 
Astana rider Lance Armstrong of the U.S. arrives at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel before the Tour of Ireland cycling race in Enniskerry near Dublin August 20, 2009. REUTERS/Stefan Wermuth