When Ger phoned Lance
Although no longer recognised as a Tour De France winner, the seven yellow jerseys continue to take pride of place in the home of Lance Armstrong. Armstrong was interviewed by Ger Gilroy on Newstalk’s Off the Ball Monday night to promote the One Zero Con coming to Dublin.
Armstrong confesses;“I was definitely stuck in a pattern of not being truthful, the denials, the defences; it’s embarrassing.” The American’s current message is unclear but he promises to be more open and transparent; and accepts he is responsible for his plight. “I’m not here to bullshit ya; if ya ask a question; I’m going to answer a question; if there happens to be a question that is too close and too sensitive to the Federal case here in the United States; I’m just going to say I can’t answer that; having said that I’ve never not answered a question.”
Armstrong accepts that he is a divisive figure and that there will be a number of people who cannot justify supporting a conference that he’ll benefit from; “I can’t fault them; that’s the spot I’ve put myself in.”
The majority of the information in the public domain as to Armstrong’s doping regime has been provided by Floyd Landis and Tyler Hamilton. Armstrong’s opinion is that he has disclosed full details of his systematic doping and its mechanics to USADA; and in testimony provided for the CIRC report.” “Other than sitting down with the authorities and telling them everything I know, what the governing body decides to do with it, we saw what they decided to do with it; the report comes out and its panned. Whether or not, that collusion of riders and teams and sponsors, and the governing body, exists today; I have no idea.”
Armstrong is banned from professional cycling and feels he can’t atone to professional cycling “very difficult to have an impact there, I’m not welcome.” Armstrong feels he has no role in restoring spectator confidence to the sport and that past events offer no future learnings.
The interview deals with Armstrong’s relationships with some of the protagonists of his career and downfall.
Armstrong didn’t prevent his doctor; Michele Ferrari; from talking to film maker Alex Gibney as; “I wasn’t that involved, I wasn’t that worried, I knew it was all out — in documentary or books or cases with testimony.”
Armstrong’s relationship with prominent Irish journalists is; of course; questioned. Of Paul Kimmage “There’s a time and place for he and I to sit down but truth be told, I don’t know Paul Kimmage; there was one interaction and I was a dick.” Of David Walsh, Armstrong reveals; “You talk about making amends, you either make personal amends, financial amends. David’s situation has been settled; that’s a confidential matter. I can’t comment on that.”
Armstrong is reticant when questioned as to relationship with anti doping campaigners; such as Greg Le Mond. Armstrong becomes notably more hesitant distancing himself from the decision of Trek circles to drop Le Mond; “I had nothing to do with that.” In the past; Armstrong accused LeMond of having addiction problems; “I was sorry for my actions; I was embarrassed by my actions, and I apologised to them and they accepted my apology.” When challenged further; Armstrong replied with; “You weren’t in the room — what are you talking about?” and finished on “Okay, Superman.”
When suggested that Armstrong uses his own Podcast ‘Forward’ for a discussion with Kimmage or Ferrari, Armstrong dismisses the idea emphasising the name of the show and how it won’t be used to discuss 90s doping.
On the topic of having a motor in his bicycle; Armstrong is very dismissive; “Absolutely not.” When challenged further he defaults to the personal attacks, “Are you a complete rookie? In 1999, nobody even knew; motors were for motor bikes, I mean are you out of your mind.”
Armstrong clearly wishes to remain in the public consciousness,“This is not something that people are going to forget about, or move on from, people whether its an apology or whether its a direct answer or whether its some contrition, whatever it is, I welcome those opportunities.” He feels that the vilification he has received is unfair when compared with the adulation received by George Hincapie. “The event is too grand and too great to not have a winner. Its a tough one that I think will take 50–100 years to sort out.”
Armstrong hung up without any parting pleasantries for Gilroy.