Lance Armstrong has said that despite his life ban for doping and subsequent confession, cycling is still a 'sacré bordel' (a mess) but insists he has turned the page on his life and moved away from the world of professional cycling.
Speaking to l'edition du Soir, an evening digital version of the Ouest France newspaper after riding and suffering in the 125km Mike Nosco Bicycle Ride charity ride in California, Armstrong admitted he only rides his bike once a week, often opting for a mountain bike ride.
He was recently stopped from riding the Gran Fondo Hincapie event because it was officially sanctioned by USA Cycling, and participation would infringe on his life banned imposed by the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) and the UCI. However, he is able to ride charity rides such as the Mike Nosco Bicycle Ride, which raises funds for cancer victims.
"Sorry if I'm catching my breath as I talk. The route this morning was very hard, much more than what I expected. I'm not used to these kind of climbs,” l'edition du Soir reported Armstrong as saying, as he signed autographs and relaxed after the ride in the parking lot.
"I don't train that much anymore, not more than once a week. And when I do a bike ride, it's mostly on my mountain bike. And in Austin, where I live, the routes are not as hilly."
Armstrong was banned for life and was stripped of his seven Tour de France victories in October 2012. After years of denial he finally confessed to doping during an interview with Oprah Winfrey in January 2013. He remains locked in a legal battle with the US Federal Government as it tries to recover funds paid to Armstrong's US Postal Service team as part of a Federal whistleblower lawsuit.
He recently revealed to Cyclingnews that he is due to speak to the Cycling Independent Reform Commission for a second time in the near future as he tries to secure a reduction in his ban. He insisted he is trying to move on with his life.
"I don't follow the results. From time to time, I read the newspaper or surf the internet but I do not look at it in particular detail. Not because it is something painful, it's just because I've turned the page. Needless to say that the end of my career was complicated. It (cycling) is even still a mess... but I've moved on from it.
"When you've devoted your life to a sport, you realize at the end of your career that you've missed a lot. I've been trying to make up for lost time, either with my children or by traveling. I've also been dedicating time to the fight against cancer. All my priorities have changed. This is especially true after the death of my friend Robin Williams. I realised that he was enjoying life to the fullest."
The previous generation?
Armstrong was last in France in 2013 when he apologised to Christophe Bassons and other people he had publicly attacked as he constantly denied his doping. He describes his life post-confession as a long tunnel.
"I confessed. What more can I say? I said on television what I had to say. I'm still struggling with the consequences of what I said. It's a long tunnel but I hope get to the end sooner or later."
Despite moving away from professional cycling Armstrong remains convinced that he was made some kind of scapegoat and has paid for the sins of his generation and even the generation that proceeded his career.
"Maybe..." he said when asked if he'd paid for other people's sins. "I was part of a complicated generation, who inherited the habits of the previous generation. There has never an investigation into what they did ... But that's life, the world of sport is sometimes surprising."
Correction: An earlier version of this article was titled: "Armstrong says his life is still a mess after doping confession". Lance Armstrong has since contacted Cyclingnews, saying that in the original interview with l'edition du Soir, he said that "cycling was still in a mess". The headline and story has been edited as a consequence.
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