Lance Armstrong has called for a more level playing field between his and other rider’s doping bans, admitting that he confessed to Oprah Winfrey on television because there were “lawsuits in place that would have put me in the cross-hairs."
Repeating many of the claims he made in his long interview with Cyclingnews last week, including that he was ready to give full details of his doping to a possible Truth and Reconciliation process, Armstrong claimed that he deserves equal treatment to other riders from his generation who also doped.
Armstrong was the recognised ringmaster and bully that lead to the deceit and doping that went on during his career. But he feels he should get equal treatment to his former teammates who were given six-months ban for assisting in the USADA investigation.
They signed affidavits naming Armstrong, but he refused to co-operate in USADA’s investigation and did everything he could to disrupt and impede it. Armstrong was banned for life and lost his seven Tour de France victories.
“We had a very consistent pattern of behaviour in cycling. Yet the punishment and the toll it has taken on some are not consistent. Some took a free pass, while some have been given the death penalty,” he told the BBC World Service in a telephone interview.
“I just hope that people are treated consistently and fairly. If everyone gets the death penalty, then I'll take the death penalty. If everyone gets a free pass, I'm happy to take a free pass. If everyone gets six months, then I'll take my six months."
“I’ll sum it up like this: The playing field at the time was level, the justice served here has been anything but level.”
Armstrong lamented that he has paid a high financial price, while others somehow “capitalised on this story".
"It's been tough. It's been real tough. I've paid a heavy price in terms of my standing within the sport, my reputation, I’ve certainly paid a heavy price financially because the lawsuits have continued to pile up,” he said.
“The only difference, and I won’t name names, but between people felt burdened by this is that some of the suffered almost opposite to what I experienced. I have experienced massive personal loss, massive loss of wealth, while others have truly capitalised on this story."
“I’ll let the general public decide if that’s meritorious but this has been awfully convenient for some.”