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Americas

Armstrong: ‘Impossible to win Tour de France without doping’

Video by Clovis CASALI

Text by FRANCE 24

Latest update : 2013-07-04

Disgraced cycling champion Lance Armstrong has told French daily Le Monde that it is “impossible” to win the Tour de France without doping in an interview published the day before the start of the 100th edition of the multi-stage race.

On the eve of the 100th edition of the world’s biggest cycling race, Lance Armstrong has told French daily Le Monde that it is impossible to win the Tour de France without doping.

Armstrong, who won the annual race seven consecutive times, was stripped of his titles last year after US cycling authorities revealed his extensive use of performance-enhancing drugs.

“It’s impossible to win the Tour de France without doping,” he said in an interview published on Friday. “It’s an endurance test in which oxygen is a decisive factor. Just to give you one example – EPO [the doping agent erythropoietin] won’t help a sprinter win the 100 metres, but it will make all the difference for a runner doing the 10,000 metres. It’s obvious.”

Armstrong said that he “hadn’t invented doping”. “Doping has always existed and it always will,” he said. “I just participated in a system. I’m a human being.”

‘One big lie’

Questioned over French cyclist Laurent Jalabert, who was accused on Monday of using EPO during the 1998 Tour de France but denied the accusations, Armstrong refuted his claims. “I’ve got a lot of respect for Jaja,” he said. “But he’s lying.”

Armstrong was handed a lifetime ban from professional cycling in October 2012 when the US Anti-Doping Agency, USADA, accused him of leading “the most sophisticated, professionalised and successful doping program that sport has ever seen”.

After consistently denying doping accusations for years, he made a breakthrough admission in January this year on the Oprah Winfrey talk show. “It is my fault,” he said at the time. “I view this situation as one big lie.”

A survivor of testicular cancer, Armstrong was also forced to stand down from his Livestrong cancer foundation following his fall from grace.

Armstrong told Le Monde that he continues to train as a cyclist and will “try to watch some of the Tour de France on television”.

Date created : 2013-06-28

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