by MATT GORDON Editor-in-chief
Former cyclist and seven-time Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong admitted to doping in his interview with Oprah Winfrey on Thursday, January 17.
Armstrong had previously denied all allegations of doping, but decided it was time to come clean about his actions. He said that doping is part of the job and is a common practice in cycling.
Armstrong admitted to taking EPOs, or Erythropoietin, and blood transfusions, which increase red blood cell production and help endurance. Armstrong also admitted to taking testosterone, but did not feel it was against the rules since he had previously had testicular cancer and needed testosterone injections during his treatment.
After admitting to doping, Armstrong added that he did not think he would win without doping.
EPO was not tested for in cyclists until after his 2005 win, so Armstrong never tested positive for the illegal substance. Instead, Armstrong tested positive for Cortisone, another banned drug that increases blood oxygen level and increases stamina.
When asked the last time he doped, Armstrong denied doping in his comeback years, 2009 and 2010, when he finished third and 23rd respectively. He said the last time he doped was in 2005, the year of his last Tour de France win.
Throughout his seven Tour de France wins, Armstrong admitted to doping before each tour, not during the tour or in between races.
As the leader and partial owner of the USPS cycling team, Armstrong had immense power over the other cyclists on the team. He even had the authority to hire and fire riders, staff members, and team doctors. Armstrong said he did not persuade other team members into using dope or threaten their position on the team if they did not “shoot up.”
Rumours swirled during his cycling career that positive doping tests were hidden and that Armstrong was not punished for them because he payed off the testers. Donations were made to the UCI, the International Cyclist Union, by Armstrong, but he said he did not make the donations to have the organization overlook positive drug tests. He also said he was not a fan of the UCI and only made donations to them because they asked him.
Armstrong had previously denied allegations with a passion and accused everyone who spoke out against him of lying, trying to get back at him for his tough leadership.
Armstrong said, “I tried to control the narrative and I accused others of lying when they said something I didn’t like.”
He also sued previous team members for slander when they accused him of doping.
Junior Melissa Rasimowicz said, “It is not fair to the people that actually worked hard to acheive their goals in cycling.”
In October of 2012, Armstrong stepped down as chairman of the Livestrong Foundation, which funds cancer research and raises awareness of all types of cancer. The foundation was originally founded by Armstrong in 1997 after his long battle with testicular cancer. Many cancer patients viewed him as a hero, since he was able to fight off the horrifying disease and come back to be one of the most accomplished cyclists ever.