Reporting Meghan McCorkell
BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Coming clean. Cycling legend Lance Armstrong confesses he took performance-enhancing drugs after denying it for years.
Meghan McCorkell has more on the impact this could have on Armstrong and the cycling world.
Armstrong has offered to be a witness in a federal investigation into doping and to pay $5 million to compensate for his alleged fraud. But the Department of Justice says it’s not enough.
He’s been stripped of his seven Tour de France wins and forced to leave his Livestrong charity. His endorsement deals are gone. Now, in an interview with Oprah Winfrey, Lance Armstrong admitted to doping.
“The answers that people around the world have been waiting to hear were certainly answered. I can only say I was satisfied by the answer,” Winfrey tells CBS This Morning.
U.S. officials accuse Armstrong of running the most sophisticated, professionalized doping program ever seen.
During an interview with 60 Minutes, teammate Tyler Hamilton admitted he saw Armstrong use the banned substance EPO.
“I saw him inject it…more than one time,” Hamilton told Scott Pelley.
For local cyclists, the news of Armstrong’s confession isn’t a surprise but it is a disappointment.
Kris Auer of Twenty20 Cycling in Hampden raced against Armstrong early in his career.
“He was an extraordinary athlete without the dope. He became a super-human athlete with it,” said Auer.
Auer says the crackdown on illegal doping is having an impact.
“Speeds, average speeds and whatnot have gone down. You start to see people fail a little bit more often,” he said.
Joe Traill of Joe’s Bike Shop in Mount Washington met Armstrong after his second Tour de France win. He hopes the disgraced cyclist is coming forward for the right reasons.
“If it’s to get back into cycling or clear some legal hurdle or something, then I think it would be sad for him to go to all this trouble,” Traill said.
It’s trouble that could cost Armstrong millions of dollars. The U.S. Justice Department is considering joining in a whistleblower lawsuit against Armstrong that could cost him nearly $100 million.
The World Anti-Doping Agency says Armstrong will have to testify under oath in order to have his lifetime ban from cycling reduced.