Inside Story

End of the road for Lance Armstrong?

As seven-time Tour de France winner publicly admits to doping, we ask how much damage has been done to cycling.
Last Modified: 19 Jan 2013 14:10

After years of fiercely denying the allegations against him, former cyclist Lance Armstrong has, for the first time, publicly admitted to doping.

"As a tactic to be able to get some public sympathy, perhaps that [TV interview] is what he might do. But in terms of the sporting world, really, if he is going to come clean he has to put that evidence on oath and he has to talk to the anti-doping authorities, and the sports organisations, maybe even the independent commission that has been set up by the UCI, and he has to name names; he really does have to come cleaner than he has."

- Michele Verroken, Sporting Integrity Limited

Armstrong ended a decade of speculation by admitting he used performance enhancing drugs to win every single one of his seven Tour de France titles.

The former cyclist, who was stripped of his titles late last year, made the confession in an interview with US television host Oprah Winfrey.

Armstrong admitted covering up his use of drugs but says there was a culture of doping among cyclists.

His career has gone through extraordinary highs and lows. His professional career started with limited success in the early 1990s. Then in 1996, at the age of 25, Armstrong was diagnosed with testicular cancer.

But he overcame the illness in a spectacular fashion, winning the 1999 Tour de France.

But it was just the beginning. Armstrong went on to win every year, from 1999 to 2005; a seven year winning streak that set a new Tour de France record.

In 2005, just weeks after he announced he would retire, a French newspaper said it had evidence Armstrong was guilty of doping.

"This goes a lot deeper. Lance Armstrong did not do this alone. Whenever he was asked to comment on anyone, he said: I am going to lay down on that; I am not going to name names; I am not going to sit here and blame anybody. So I think, from that respect, this is only the beginning of this. And I think there is an awful lot more that needs to come from Lance Armstrong here."

- Marty MacDonald, cycling commentator

The allegations subsided after he retired.

But when he announced his intention to return in 2009, those allegations came back with force.

In October 2012 the US anti-doping agency said it had "overwhelming" evidence against Armstrong. He was stripped of all his Tour de France titles.

So, how much damage has been done to the world of cycling? And what's next for Lance Armstrong and the sport? 

To discuss this, Inside Story with presenter Ghida Fakhry is joined by guests: Michele Verroken, the director of Sporting Integrity Limited, a consultancy on integrity matters including doping in sports; Marty MacDonald, a former cycling team owner and manager, who has managed Tour de France level athletes; and Fred Dryer, a freelance journalist and former editor at Velonews Cycle Magazine.


  • Armstrong was dogged by allegations of doping for much of his career 
  • Armstrong admitted he used performance enhancers like testosterone, EPO 
  • EPO hormone is said to improve oxygen delivery to the muscles 
  • Armstrong was stripped of all his cycling titles last year 
  • Armstrong admits to being a bully but denies forcing drugs on anyone 
  • International Olympic committee has stripped Armstrong of Olympic medal 
  • IOC decision to take back medal came hours before Oprah interview 
  • Armstrong survived testicular cancer to become a sporting giant 


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