Disgraced cyclist vows to help inquiry but wants fair treatment, writes Greg Leedham
Lance Armstrong said on Monday that he will participate with “100 per cent transparency and honesty” in any future inquiry into doping in cycling.
The 42-year-old Texan was stripped of the seven Tour de Frances titles he won from 1999 to 2005 and banned from competitive sport for life last year after admitting to using performance-enhancing drugs.
Armstrong, who first revealed that he had cheated in an interview with chat show host Oprah Winfrey in January, said he is willing to help clean up the sport but only if everyone involved is treated fairly.
The US rider believes that he has been given a “death sentence,” while others who also doped have been treated leniently.
In an interview with BBC’s World Service, he said: “I’m keen do whatever I can to help close the chapter and help the sport move forward. Certainly I would speak with 100 per cent transparency and honesty.
“All that I would say is that we had a very consistent pattern of behaviour for 20 years in cycling, very consistent, and yet the punishment and the toll that’s taken on some has not been consistent.
“You’ve had some people with a total free pass, you’ve had some people with a death penalty, for consistent behaviour. So all that I would hope for is that people are treated consistently and fairly. If everybody gets the death penalty, then I’ll take the death penalty.
“If everybody gets a free pass, well I’m happy to take a free pass. If everybody gets six months, then I’ll take my six months. I sum this up like this: the playing field at the time was level, the justice served here has been anything but level.”
Though he is willing to help new UCI president Brian Cookson’s quest to clean up the sport, Armstrong accepts that many people will question his sincerity. He said: “I’m well aware of that. I don’t have a whole lot of credibility and there will probably be a faction that says that, but what can I do?
“People are just going to have to decide whether or not it’s the truth. I’ve got nothing to lose now.”
Since his confession to Winfrey, Armstrong has had to deal with a litany of lawsuits.
“It’s been tough,” Armstrong said. “I have experienced massive personal loss, massive loss of wealth while others have truly capitalised on this story.”