Lance Armstrong: I wouldn't change a thing about doping

Lance Armstrong
Armstrong won a record seven consecutive Tour de France titles from 1999 to 2005

Lance Armstrong says he "wouldn't change a thing" about the doping that helped him win and then subsequently saw him stripped of seven Tour de France titles between 1999-2005.

The American was banned from cycling for life in 2012 before admitting to using performance-enhancing drugs.

But the 47-year-old told NBC Sportsexternal-link he had "learned a lot" from his "mistakes".

"I don't learn all the lessons if I don't act that way," he added.

"We did what we had to do to win," Armstrong continued. "It wasn't legal, but I wouldn't change a thing - whether it's losing a bunch of money, or going from hero to zero."

Armstrong repeatedly denied doping allegations following his return from cancer until finally confessing during a television interview with Oprah Winfrey in January 2013.

In 2018, he agreed to pay $5m (£3.5m) to the US government to settle a long-running lawsuit that could have cost him $100m (£71m) in damages.

He was accused of fraud by cheating while riding for the publicly funded US Postal Service team.

"It was a mistake, it led to a lot of other mistakes. It led to the most colossal meltdown in the history of sport. But I learned a lot," he said in a 30-minute interview with the American network NBCSNexternal-link that will be broadcast next Wednesday.

"I wouldn't change the way I acted. I mean I would, but this is a longer answer.

"Primarily, I wouldn't change the lessons that I've learned. I don't learn all the lessons if I don't act that way.

"I don't get investigated and sanctioned if I don't act the way I acted. If I just doped and didn't say a thing, none of that would have happened. None of it. I was begging for, I was asking for them to come after me. It was an easy target."

Armstrong reiterated that he knew doping was widespread in cycling at that time.

He added: "I knew there were going to be knives at this fight. Not just fists. I knew there would be knives.

"I had knives, and then one day, people start showing up with guns. That's when you say, do I either fly back to Plano, Texas, and not know what you're going to do? Or do you walk to the gun store? I walked to the gun store. I didn't want to go home.

"I don't want to make excuses for myself that everybody did it or we never could have won without it. Those are all true, but the buck stops with me. I'm the one who made the decision to do what I did. I didn't want to go home, man. I was going to stay."

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