Lance Armstrong: My first professional season was when I first started doping

Lance Armstrong

Lance Armstrong sat down for a series of interviews which took place between March 2018 and the summer of 2019 for ESPN’s new documentary LANCE.

Seven years after he finally admitted to Oprah Winfrey that he doped, Armstrong insists that he sleeps well at night despite being exposed as a doper and accused of damaging the lives of whistle-blowers.

In October 1996, the 25-year-old Armstrong had a testicle removed and underwent chemotherapy treatment from which doctors thought he wouldn’t survive. Asked by an ESPN reporter if he felt he got cancer from doping, he replied:

“I don’t know the answer to that. But I certainly wouldn’t say no. The only thing I’ll tell you is the only time in my life I ever did growth hormone was the 1996 season. So in my head, growth, growing hormone and cells – if anything good needs to be grown it does.

“But wouldn’t it also make sense if there is anything bad in there it, too, would grow?

“My first professional season was when I first started doping, when I was 21. It was cortisone, drugs that stimulate your body’s own production of cortisone.

“EPO was a whole other level. The performance benefits were so great. The sport went from low-octane doping to this high-octane rocket fuel. That was the decision we had to make.

“The easiest way to define it, it’s breaking the rules. Were we getting injections of vitamins and other things from an earlier age? Yes. But they weren’t illegal.

“Of course [we knew]. I’m not one of those guys. I always asked, always knew and I always made the decision on my own.

“Nobody said: ‘Don’t ask, this is what you are getting.’ I wouldn’t have gone for that. I educated myself on what was being given and I chose to do it.”

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