In an interview with La Gazzetta dello Sport, Lance Armstrong indicated that he’s pretty much abandoned cycling, and has opted to play golf as a way to ‘clear his mind’, as he continues to battle legal proceedings in the wake of his life-time from the sport set forth by the US Anti-Doping Agency (USADA).
The beleaguered Armstrong was in Rome yesterday to play a round of golf, and met with the Italian newspaper’s Pier Bergonzi.
During the interview, Armstrong hinted he will not try to reach a deal with the US Justice Department and Floyd Landis in their civil suit, with the case likely going to trial in 2016.
In addition, Armstrong expressed that he felt his life-time ban was unfair as compared to the sanctions that were handed down to other riders – indicating they had not been punished as much as he has.
“I know I’m guilty. I know I hurt people. I’ve apologised publicly and want to do it personally to some of them. But my punishment is a thousand bigger than the ‘crime’ I committed. I can understand that they’ve chosen me as the symbol of those years, even if the top riders from then plus the managers and the doctors from back then were all in the same boat,” Armstrong told Bergonzi, who followed much of Armstrong’s early career.
“They could have given me a ban that was five, six or even ten times bigger, but not a thousand times. The truth is that in the world of sport, and especially in cycling, there’s a lot of hypocrisy. I’m the absolute evil, others are still considered legends…”
Armstrong said he’s is still in contact with George Hincapie and Johan Bruyneel, but his relationships with many others have ended.
“I’ve been dumped by the likes of Nike and Trek. I’ve not heard from (former Motorola and now BMC team manager) Jim Ochowicz or Eddy Merckx. I can understand that interests are at stake, but I hope to rebuild certain relationships,” he said.
Additionally, Armstrong indicated that he had no desire to compete in cycling again, on any level.
“I’ve got a feeling of rejection for cycling at the moment. I run to keep fit and I’m playing a lot of golf. Then there’s my work for the fight against cancer. Cancer victims are my community of reference,” he said.
“Golf is helping me a lot. I take my golf clubs everywhere I go. I run to keep fit but to clear my head of bad thoughts, there’s nothing better than golf.”
“The bike? No more cycling. I’ve virtually given up riding in the last year. I only ride with friends.”
Despite USADA"s contention that there’s "one in a million" chance that Armstrong’s blood values were normal during the 2009 and 2010 Tour de France, he continues to insist that he didn’t "dope" during his comeback.
“I’ve already told too many lies and I can’t allow myself to tell more. But I repeat, in 2009 I stayed well away from doping. I think the urine and blood samples from that year are still available. If someone goes and controls them, they wouldn’t find traces of doping in mine,” he said.
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