'Pathetic' ... Lance Armstrong says the Tour de France was 'invented as a stunt, and a very tough mother----'. Photo: Getty
Lance Armstrong claimed on Wednesday that he was the victim of cycling's doping culture, saying he was the "fall guy" for the sport's problems.
Armstrong also said that the embattled International Cycling Union has "no place at the table" in a truth and reconciliation hearing and described Pat McQuaid, the UCI president, as "pathetic".
In his first interview since his confessional with Oprah Winfrey two weeks ago, Armstrong claimed that he was the product of cycling's -cheating down the years.
Lance Armstrong (right) climbs with Bradley Wiggins and during stage 17 of the 2009 Tour de France from Bourg-Saint-Maurice to Le Grand-Bornand. Photo: Getty Images
"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 was invented as a stunt, and very tough mother ------- 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'."
When asked by the website cyclingnews whether he felt a scapegoat, he answered: "Actually, yes I do. But I understand why. We all make the beds we sleep in." Armstrong told Winfrey he would be the "first through the door" at any truth and reconciliation commission and said McQuaid is in "CYA [Cover Your ---] mode".
"It's not the best way, it's the only way," he said about a truth and reconciliation commission. "As much as I'm the eye of the storm this is not about one man, one team, one director. 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.
"When I was on speaking terms with ol' Pat McQuaid many, many months ago I said: 'Pat, you better think bold here. A full blown, global, TRC is our sports best solution.' He wanted to hear nothing of it. It's not my place to set the parameters but... I'd say that if you are alive today and you podiumed in a GT, WC, or Grand Tour then you should be called. Sounds ambitious but the authorities have proven that nothing with regards to cycling is time barred. Pat is just in constant CYA mode. Pathetic."
Armstrong hit back at the dig by Travis Tygart, the head of the United States Anti-Doping Agency, that he is trying to find a route back to competing. The animosity confirms Armstrong is a long way from making a confession to the American authorities who have given him a deadline of February 6 to come clean about his doping past if he wants to reduce his life ban.
"That was Travis's stunt to make me look self serving," Armstrong said. "When I met with him I told him: 'Yes, of course, I'd love to compete again. I'm a competitor.' However the truth is that it was more about equality and fairness. Letting some race the season then giving minor off seasons sanctions versus the death penalty [for similar offences] isn't fair and isn't about 'cleaning up cycling'. It's about getting your man."
- The Telegraph, London