Former cyclist Lance Armstrong, in an interview broadcast around the world Thursday, admitted to Oprah Winfrey that he had doped and used performance-enhancing substances while he was at his competitive peak, winning seven Tour de France titles.
In a pre-taped video streamed at Oprah.com, he answered some pointed opening questions from Winfrey. She asked if he used drugs in the years he competed and won the Tour de France. "Yes," he said, to doping, blood transfusions, cheating.
The founder of Livestrong had strongly denied ever doping until the admission to Winfrey. A U.S. anti-doping body recently stripped the former member of the U.S. Postal Service cycling team of all of his titles. He subsequently quit as head of his charity. The second part of the video airs later.
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But right from the start and more than two dozen times during the first of a two-part interview Thursday night with Oprah Winfrey, the disgraced former cycling champion acknowledged what he had lied about repeatedly for years, and what had been one of the worst-kept secrets for the better part of a week: He was the ringleader of an elaborate doping scheme on a U.S. Postal Service team that swept him to the top of the podium at the Tour de France time after time.
"At the time it did not feel wrong?'' Winfrey asked.
"No,'' Armstrong replied. "Scary.''
"Did you feel bad about it?'' she pressed him.
"No,'' he said. "Even scarier.''
"Did you feel in any way that you were cheating?''
"No,'' Armstrong paused. "Scariest.''