TheTimesTribune.com, Corbin, KY

Entertainment

January 21, 2013

Armstrong admits doping: ‘I’m a flawed character’

(Continued)

CORBIN — “That was, in my view, part of the job,” he said.

Armstrong was evasive, or begged off entirely, when Winfrey tried to connect his use to others who aided or abetted the performance-enhancing scheme on the USPS team

When she asked him about Italian doctor Michele Ferrari, who was implicated in doping-related scrapes and has also been banned from cycling for life, Armstrong replied, “It’s hard to talk about some of these things and not mention names. There are people in this story, they’re good people and we’ve all made mistakes ... they’re not monsters, not toxic and not evil, and I viewed Michele Ferrari as a good man and smart man and still do.”

But that’s nearly all Armstrong would say about the physician that some reports have suggested educated the cyclist about doping and looked after other aspects of his training program.

He was almost as reluctant to discuss claims by former teammates Tyler Hamilton and Floyd Landis that Armstrong told them, separately, that he tested positive during the 2001 Tour de Suisse and conspired with officials of the International Cycling Union officials to cover it up — in exchange for a donation.

“That story wasn’t true. There was no positive test, no paying off of the labs. There was no secret meeting with the lab director,” he said.

Winfrey pressed him again, asking if the money he donated wasn’t part of a tit-for-tat agreement, “Why make it?”

“Because they asked me to,” Armstrong began.

“This is impossible for me to answer and have anybody believe it,” he said. “It was not in exchange for any cover-up. ... I have every incentive here to tell you yes.”

Finally, he summed up the entire episode this way: “I was retired. ... They needed money.”

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