Disgraced cyclist Lance Armstrong, who admitted to extensive use of banned performance enhancing drugs during his career, has remarked that he would use the drugs again if he was competing in the doping-abundant culture that existed in professional cycling during the 1990s.

The former American professional road racing cyclist, who won the Tour de France a record seven consecutive times between 1999 and 2005, was stripped of his seven Tour de France victories. Armstrong received a lifetime ban from competitive cycling by the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) in 2012. This was after Armstrong was found guilty of using and promoting the culture of performance enhancing drugs throughout his career. In January 2013, the cyclist admitted to doping and use of banned drugs and techniques such as blood doping, testosterone, cortisone, and human growth hormone during a televised interview with Oprah Winfrey.

Armstrong denied using banned drugs before he was held guilty by USADA. He called many former teammates and riders liars when they accused him of doping. Lance Armstrong also threatened lawsuits against many of them.

The 43-year-old, in an interview with the BBC, said he had to make use of performance enhancing drugs in order to compete. Armstrong said if he was racing in 2015, he would not do it again because he does not think you have to but added he would probably do it again if he is taken back to 1995 when doping was completely pervasive. Armstrong remarked he would want to change the man that did those things, maybe not the decision, but the way he acted and added the way he treated people, the way he couldn’t stop fighting and went on to add that it was unacceptable and inexcusable. The former cyclist also expressed a desire for forgiveness from the public and remarked he is hopeful that he is getting close to that time when his life in public might return to normal. Armstrong also remarked that he believes he should still be considered a seven-time winner of Tour de France.

Armstrong also criticized Brian Cookson, the present president of the world governing body of cycling. The ex-cyclist said the decisions to “rush” through the request of Team Sky for Chris Froome to get emergency steroid treatment after the prologue of the Tour de Romandie and handling of the Astana doping affair by Cookson depict failures to signal a new direction at the top of the sport.

Many observers believed that Team Astana will have its WorldTour license revoked by UCI but the world governing body decided against it. Armstrong said he believes Cookson’s hands might have been tied by rules of the UCI.

In another development, former world cycling chief pat McQuaid has remarked that he had’certain sympathy’ with Armstrong. The ex-UCI chief said Armstrong has been harshly treated and very much made a scapegoat and added that there was a ‘witch-hunt’ after the cyclist. McQuaid also remarked that USADA wanted a ‘big name’ and this was the reason why Lance Armstrong was ‘treated differently’ from other cyclists who engaged in doping. The former UCI chief also said USADA made deals with smaller riders so that they can get information about the big riders.

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