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Armstrong: It's been a difficult couple of weeks

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Expect to see Lance Armstrong in suit and tie this fall if his case goes to arbitration

Expect to see Lance Armstrong in suit and tie this fall if his case goes to arbitration (Image credit: AFP Photo)

In his first public appearance since the release of the USADA report detailing a career of systematic doping, Lance Armstrong described the past couple of weeks as “difficult.”

Speaking at a Livestrong fundraising dinner in Austin, Texas on Friday night, Armstrong opened his speech with an allusion to last week’s release of the USADA reasoned decision.

“It’s been an interesting couple of weeks,” Armstrong said. “It’s been a difficult couple of weeks, for me, my family, for this foundation.”

USADA’s 1,000-page dossier includes testimony from 26 individuals as well as a slew of documentary evidence that details a systematic doping programme at Armstrong’s former US Postal team. Armstrong is set to lose all results from August 1998 – including his seven Tour de France titles – as a result of the USADA investigation.

Armstrong stepped down as chairman of the Livestrong foundation during the week in the wake of the release of USADA’s report. A number of Armstrong’s sponsors, including Nike, Trek and Anheuser-Busch have also announced that they have ended their deals with the Texan.

“People say, man how are you doing? And I say this every time – and I mean it – I say, I’ve been better but I’ve also been worse,” Armstrong said on Friday evening.

1,500 people attended the Livestrong gala dinner, which marked the foundations 15th anniversary. Among the guests at the $1,000-a-head event were actors Sean Penn, Robin Williams and Matthew McConaughey.

After his brief nod to the ongoing controversy, Armstrong focused on his Livestrong foundation in the remainder of his speech. “This mission is bigger than me. It's bigger than any individual," he said. "We will not be deterred; we will move forward.”

In Geneva on Monday, the UCI will announce whether it will ratify or contest USADA’s judgment on the Armstrong case.