In a no-holds-barred interview with Oprah Winfrey, disgraced cyclist Lance Armstrong finally admitted to years of doping while riding professionally, arguing that performance-enhancing drugs are essential to succeed in the sport.
Wasting no time in the sit-down, Winfrey asked Armstrong right off the bat if he had ever used banned substances during his career. During a series of rapid-fire yes or no questions, the retired cyclist confirmed that blood transfusions and EPO usage was common during his career, particularly during all seven of his Tour de France victories.
When asked if he believed it was humanly possible to achieve his seven consecutive wins without doping, Armstrong replied: "Not in my opinion."
In the end, Armstrong refused to out any of his fellow cyclists in the interview. Rather, he blamed the culture of professional cycling for creating a need for underground doping in the sport. Despite this, the 41-year-old athlete took personal responsibility for his disgrace, telling Winfrey that, at the time, he didn't feel he was cheating, but now understands the magnitude of his actions.
"I see the anger in people," said Armstrong of fans' reaction to his drug use. "These are people that supported me and believed in me… They have every right to feel betrayed and it's my fault. I will spend the rest of my life trying to earn back trust and apologize to people."
Last year, a report from the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency led to Armstrong's downfall. The shamed cyclist was stripped of his seven Tour de France titles and, until now, vehemently maintained his innocence.
Tonight's interview was only part one of Winfrey's explosive sit-down. Part two, which delves into Armstrong's reasons for agreeing to come clean (among other things), airs tomorrow night on OWN.