L.A. Confessional

SP

In digging up those details, Armstrong might be able to dig himself out of his lifetime ban in exchange for a reduced ban of, perhaps, eight years.

It might also shine the spotlight on some of the most powerful men in the sport of cycling, including Pat McQuaid, the president of the International Cycling Union and a current member of the International Olympic Committee, and Hein Verbruggen, a past president of the cycling union and a current honorary member of the IOC.

At least two of Armstrong's teammates have claimed that the cycling union accepted a bribe from Armstrong to cover up at least one positive test. But only a small group of people would be able to prove those claims were true, and Armstrong is one of those people. With Winfrey, Armstrong denied that he had bribed sports officials to hide an alleged positive EPO test at the Tour of Switzerland.

'Scary' realisation

In the end, though, Armstrong seemed to understand that his actions were not normal, even in a sport that was rife with doping during the time he dominated it.

Winfrey asked him if he ever felt his doping was wrong, and he answered no, and then added that he realized that was scary. When she asked him if he had ever felt bad about his doping, he said no, and then said, "Even scarier."

Winfrey then asked, "Did you feel in any way that you were cheating?" He said no, "that's the scariest."

But Armstrong failed to do the one thing many people had been waiting for: he failed to apologise directly to all the people who believed in him, all the cancer survivors and cycling fans who thought his fairy-tale story was true. Not once did he look into the camera and say, without qualification, "I'm sorry."

... contd.

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