January 18, 2013 7:31 PM EST
Lance Amstrong Finally Admits to Doping: Oprah Winfrey Grills Disgraced Champion [PHOTOS]
After denying doping charges for two decades and even threatening people who challenged his cycling feats, Tour de France seven times winner Lance Armstrong has shocked the world by admitting to using drugs in an interview with Oprah Winfrey.
Armstrong confessed in a television interview with Oprah Winfrey that it would be impossible to win the titles without cheating. He admitted to using drugs like steroids, EPO and PED.
"I know the truth. The truth isn't what was out there, the truth isn't what I said. This story was so perfect for so long. You overcome the disease, you win the Tour de France seven times, you have a happy marriage, you have children. I mean, it's just this mythic, perfect story," he told Winfrey.
"I am sorry for taking performance-enhancing drugs during my career and that it was a mistake," he said, adding, "I view this situation as one big lie that I repeated a lot of times."
He however denied allegations that he bribed the International Cycling Union and a Swiss laboratory to keep his cheating a secret. He said that he didn't use drugs during his comeback in 2009 and also denied threatening other team-mates to use drugs.
"I didn't invent the culture and I didn't try to stop the culture and the sport is now paying the price of that and I'm sorry for that. I didn't have access to anything else that nobody else did," he said. "I was the top rider, the team leader but not the manager. There was never a direct order or directive that you have to do this. We were grown men, we all made our choices."
The cyclist, who became a source of inspiration for millions of people around the world after his fight from cancer, was banned for life and stripped of all his titles by anti-doping agency USADA last year after he decided not to fight the drugs charges against him.