Road Cycling

‘I’d Probably Do It Again’ – Lance Armstrong Consolidates Place As Road Cycling’s Pantomime Villain

Armstrong defends doping, citing charity money raised and increased profile of sport in era

Lance Armstrong isn’t the most popular man in, well, pretty much any circles these days.

The doping scandal put him on the same shelf as flat tires and pesky drivers who shout “get back on the pavement” as far as road cyclists are concerned – and his latest revelations are only going to strengthen his position as the classic Hollywood villain of the sport.

That’s right, Lance Armstrong had admitted that if he could go back to his cycling prime and do it all again, he would still take performance enhancing drugs. Cue booing in the audience as Lance launches his latest evil scheme with a lasso in one hand and a fuck-tonne of EPO in the other.

In his most revealing interview since baring all to Oprah Winfrey two years back, BBC Sport asked Lance if he would dope again if given the chance, to which he responded: “If I was racing in 2015? No. Because I don’t think you have to do it.

“If you take me back to 1995 when it was completely and totally pervasive? [Shrugs shoulders] I’d probably do it again.”

“I look at when i made that decision. It was a bad decision in an imperfect time, but it happened…”

Now, as we’ve recently explored, it in indeed true that over 65 percent of the top riders were doping in cycling’s “EPO era”, but that still doesn’t mean you should get involved in the action – and that you shouldn’t be punished for doing so.

Furthermore, for a man whose main goal seems to be to rehabilitate himself back into society and end his competitive sport ban, it certainly seems like a stupid thing to say.

Lance explained his comments by discussing the positive consequences of his success on the growth of his sport and his charity, and it does make for an interesting talking point.

The Mat Hoffman of drug taking (Hoffman also went higher than anyone before, just on a BMX rather than drugs) admits that he would change the man he was and the way he acted rather than his EPO abuse at the time.

“It’s an answer that needs some explanation,” he said. “I look at everything when I made that decision — when the whole peloton made that decision. We get it, it was a bad decision in an imperfect time, but it happened.

“I would want to change the man who did those things. The way he treated other people…”

“I know what happened to the sport of cycling from 1990 to 2005. I saw its growth, I saw its expansion. I know what happened to the industry and the [foundation went from] raising no money to raising $500 million – do all those people want to, do we want to take it away? I don’t think anybody says yes.

“I would want to change the man who did those things. The way he treated other people and the way he wouldn’t stop fighting. That’s the man who really needed to change.”

The words from Armstrong do make for an interesting argument, but with road cycling professionals still being questioned to this day and the sport still on the recovery, it does seem unlikely that Lance’s ban will be lifted any time soon.

He’s probably more likely to turn up as the next James Bond villain than as a future competitor in any sporting event…

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