In an interview with the Movember men's health podcast, Lance Armstrong admitted this week that his biggest mistake was mistreating the people who criticised him.
Armstrong, who was banned for life by the US Anti-Doping Agency in 2012, and who admitted to doping in a 2013 interview with Oprah Winfrey, said that "nobody cares about" the other riders who chose to dope during his Tour de France reign, because "none of them treated people like shit. None of them attacked another human being. None of them sued another human being. And I did all those things."
When asked what advice he would give to himself as a teenager, Armstrong said, "Understand that you may face some decisions in this sport, but, man, don't ever isolate, attack, ostracize, incite another human being."
Armstrong is still embroiled in a Federal False Claims Act lawsuit that could end up costing him millions of dollars, and as recently as this autumn testified in a deposition that his former teammate Frankie Andreu doped for the majority of his career. Andreu disputes the statement, and said Armstrong is still on the attack.
Though he faces being relieved of a large portion of his fortune, losing his involvement in the Lance Armstrong Foundation he says was "a tremendous blow", but he understood the sense of betrayal by his supporters. "It was a ton of work to build that organisation. This wasn't the kind of thing that was started after I had success, it was started before, so it was very personal to me. It wasn't the kind of thing I asked others to go build and then let me known when the press conference is so I can show up and take credit."
Although Armstrong's former sponsors severed ties with him, and he was ostracised from the cancer foundation that he started, he says the people he meets out in public have not expressed any negative feelings toward him.
"People are always cool. I've never had a negative interaction or confrontation. My life is probably more public now in terms of being out in the public than before," Armstrong said.
The experience over the last three years has soured Armstrong's love for road cycling, however. "I continue to focus on fitness and wellness. It was always a place that I could go. The whole experience changed my relationship with the bike. I run more, I swim more. In Colorado in the summer I'll do long hikes. In the summer I would ride a MTB but the road bike is very rarely used," he said.
Armstrong is planning to dabble in ultra-endurance running next year, and is forming a business venture based on extreme endurance events, which he likened to a "lollapalooza of fitness", but otherwise is enjoying a slower lifestyle than what he had before his ban.
"Before this life was 100mph. Now it's 10mph. It feels like it's gradually picking up. We might be doing 25 now. It's good, but as rough as it's been on us, it's nice to have a simple life."
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