Armstrong Harbours Hopes of Making Sporting Return

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By Nick Howson | January 19, 2013 2:08 PM EST

Lance Armstrong says he deserves a return to sanctioned and competitive sport despite being banned for life by the US Anti-doping Agency and the International Cycling Union, he revealed in the second part of his interview Oprah Winfrey.

The American admitted to doping throughout his seven victories in the Tour de France on Friday after the International Cycling Union banned Armstrong from sport for life having upheld the USADA's 1,000 page report which alleged the 45 year old had led the most sophisticated doping programme in sporting history.

And Armstrong, who turned to triathlon after retiring from cycling for a second time in 2010, craves a return to competitive sport, but concedes he doesn't expect a reprieve from the sporting authorities or a reduction in his ban for finally speaking out.

"Selfishly [I hope the ban is reduced] yes, but realistically I don't think that is going to happen," Armstrong said.

"If you're asking if I want to compete again, I would say hell yes," he added. I'm a competitor. Not the Tour de France, but there a lot of things that I want to do but I can't. 

"But if there was ever a window, I'd love the opportunity to be able to compete. This may not be the most popular thing to say but I think I deserve it.

"Everyone who got caught is bummed out they got caught. Do I have remorse? Absolutely, will it continue to grow? Absolutely."

Amid the fall-out from being stripped of his seven yellow jerseys and being banned from the sporting competition, Armstrong was dropped from a number of high-profile sponsorship deals.

However, it was his subsequent removal as chairman of the Livestrong charity, which under Armstrong's stewardship following his recovery from testicular cancer in 1996 had raised $500m for cancer research and awareness, and then from the board also that proved the most significant moment for the disgraced rider.

Armstrong labels his separation from the foundation as the 'lowest' point of the fall-out from his doping past.

"Nike called and this in the most humbling moment and they said basically that they're out," Armstrong said. "Then the calls started coming in, over a couple of days, everybody out, but that still that's not the most humbling moment.

"I just assumed we'd get to that point which was my own worst nightmare. The one person I didn't think that would leave was the foundation.

"That was the most humbling moment, to get that call. It came in two parts, 'step down as chairman', and that wasn't enough for the people our supporters and a couple of week later and 'we need you to step aside'.

"'We need you to step down for yourself' and I had to think about that a lot. The foundation was like my sixth child and to make that decision to step aside was big.

"I was aware of the pressure. It was the best thing for the organisation, but it hurt like hell. That was the lowest.

"I say [to the foundation] I understand your anger, you're sense of betrayal. You supported me and you believed and I lied to you and I am sorry. I will spend as long as I have to make amends, knowing full well I won't get many back."

Travis Tygart, the USADA chief, alledged last week that a member associated with Armstrong's United States Postal Service team tried to pay off the governing body with an $250,000 donation.

But Armstrong has again denied any illicit payments.

"No, that is not true. In the 1000-page document, there was a lot of stuff, everything was in there, so why wasn't that in there? Oprah, it's not true.

"Nobody, I had no knowledge of that. I asked around. Nobody no. I think they said it was $250,000, it was broad number and that's a lot of money. I would know about that."

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