Lance Armstrong has moved from penitent confessor to scapegoat and he’s fine with that.
In a Cyclingnews.com interview, the cyclist, who is under a lifetime ban from the sport,he was asked if he feels that he’s “the fall guy for an entire sport [or] system” and answered:
“Actually, yes I do. But I understand why. We all make the beds we sleep in.”
Armstrong, who confessed to doping earlier this month in a lengthy interview with Oprah Winfrey this month, sees himself as part of chronic, systemic cheating rather than, as a U.S. Anti-Doping Agency report found, the ringleader of it.
“My generation was no different than any other. The ‘help’ has evolved over the years but the fact remains that our sport is damn hard, the Tour [de France] was invented as a ‘stunt,’ and very tough mother [expletives] have competed for a century and all looked for advantages.
“From hopping on trains a 100 years ago to EPO now, no generation was exempt or ‘clean’. Not [Eddy] Merckx’s, not [Bernard] Hinault’s, not [Greg] LeMond’s, not [Fausto] Coppi’s, not [Felice] Gimondi’s, not [Miguel] Indurain’s, not [Jacques] Anquetil’s, not [Gino] Bartali’s and not mine.”
Armstrong, his confession behind him, believes the sport can weather the criticism if it takes an honest, open approach through a Truth and Reconciliation Commission, in which the International Cycling Union would play no role, to cleaning it up.
“It’s not the best way, it’s the only way. As much as I’m the eye of the storm this is not about one man, one team, one director,” Armstrong said. “This is about cycling and to be frank it’s about all endurance sports. Publicly lynching one man and his team will not solve this problem.”
There were few surprises in Armstrong’s interview with Winfrey, particularly for his family.
“They were well aware of what I was doing and going to say. They loved the interview,” he said. “I was in Hawaii when it aired, but my older kids and [his ex-wife] Kristin watched both nights live. We spoke immediately after both shows. What was said then I’ll keep to myself.”