Lifetime ban is "death penalty," says Armstrong

Sat Jan 19, 2013 2:15am EST
 

By Julian Linden

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Lance Armstrong says he received the "death penalty" for using performance-enhancing drugs and lying about it for over a decade, but the disgraced cyclist still harbors a strong desire to compete and hopes his lifetime ban will one day be lifted.

In contrast to the impassive confessions to doping Armstrong gave in the first part of his interview with U.S. talk show host Oprah Winfrey on Thursday, Armstrong struggled with his emotions as he discussed the impact his fall had had on his family.

Eyes welling up and pausing to gather his composure, Armstrong recalled the moment he told his children the accusations against him were true and said the fallout from the affair had left his mother "a wreck".

The most humbling moment had come when he had to stand aside from Livestrong, the cancer foundation he established, he said.

"The ultimate crime is the betrayal of these people who support me and believed in me and they got lied to," he said.

Critics said Armstrong had shown little sign of contrition on Thursday, but in the second part of the interview aired on Friday there appeared to be genuine remorse.

The Texan conceded he deserved to be punished for years of doping that helped him win a record seven Tour de France titles.

However, he said the penalty he was given by the US Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) was much harsher than the sanctions dished out to other self-confessed cheats, who were given lesser sentences for testifying against him.   Continued...

 
Seven-time Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong awaits the start of the 2010 Cape Argus Cycle Tour in Cape Town March 14, 2010. REUTERS/Mike Hutchings/Files