My name is Elin - A pro cycling lover's reflections

Armstrong: “I would probably do it again”

Category: Cycling & Doping

Lance ArmstrongIn recent days, I have heard several people being surprised by the fact that Lance Armstrong has said that if he was taken back to 1995 with the same circumstances, he would choose to dope all over again. I cannot understand why anybody is surprised. If I was in the same situation, I would have done the same. I believe most people would. Most of the guys who doped that time did not want to cheat. They knew that they did something bad. Something they would rather not do. Something they were ashamed of. Most of them would rather have raced clean, on bread and water.

We all know by now that Armstrong was a cruel idiot back then. Armstrong has been banned for life after the US Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) collected hundreds of pages of witness testimony, which showed that he did not only dope, but he also was part of an organized scheme to cheat in order to win, and he discredited and ruined anyone who dared threaten him.

In an interview with the BBC Armstrong says that:
"For 15 years, I was a complete asshole to a dozen people. I said I'd try to make it right. Anyone who gave me an audience, I was there."

In the interview he says that he would "want to change the man who did those things. Maybe not the decision but the way he acted. The way he treated other people, the way he just couldn't stop fighting. It's great to fight in training and in the race, but you don't have to get in a press conference or a personal interaction and fight. That's the man that really needed to change and who can never come back."

Still he says that he would have doped again if he could turn back time. According to him, all of the riders in that era were in a bad position. However, he also says that if he was a rider today, he would not do the same. The culture has changed.

"If I was racing in 2015, no I wouldn't [dope] again. I don't think you have to. If you take me back to 1995 when it was completely and totally pervasive, I'd probably do it again. I look at everything when I made that decision, when my team mates, and the whole peloton made that decision. It was a bad decision in an imperfect time. but it happened.

"When Lance Armstrong did that, I know what happened because of that. I know what happened in the sport of cycling from 1995 to 2005. I saw its growth, I saw the expansion, I know what happened in the cycling industry. Trek Bicycles went from sales of $100 million to a billion in sales. ... Do all those people want us to make a different decision and take that all away? I don't think anybody says yes," Armstrong said.

It is easy to say that 'I would never have done the same thing', but if I look at the people that I know, very few of them would be strong enough to say no. Most of them care too much for money and having a good life. And without the doping, it was unbelievable hard to make yourself a career back then. Some may have succeeded, but many didn't. They had the options between doping or go back to school/get a job. And if you were in their situation, if you had spent so much time training hard to be able to become a pro cyclist, what would you have done if you had to choose between doping and retirement? When really thinking about it, many of you would probably take the risk. Especially in a time when the anti-doping controls were poor.

Doping is bad. It really is. We can all be pleased that the world of cycling has changed now, and that doping is no longer a requisite. I know not everybody is going to believe it, but after following cycling for more than ten years I'm sure that doping is no longer as common.
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