Lance Armstrong: "I was a complete dickhead"

The disgraced former cyclist opened up to Off the Ball's Ger Gilroy ahead of his appearance at One Zero Con

Lance Armstrong has stated that he was "a complete dickhead" in the way that he dealt with Paul Kimmage during his investigation of the doping scandal that surrounded the cyclist.

Speaking to Ger Gilroy on Off The Ball in an exclusive interview, Armstrong apologised for his treatment of Kimmage, and stated that he has done his best to make amends to all the people who were caught up in the fallout after his house of cards came crashing down. 

Noting that he had testified multiple times in private to USADA and for the CIRC report about doping, but that people haven't really reported it, Armstrong went through the list of people that he has reached out to since he admitted to doping.

"I've apologised multiple times [to Betsy Andreu]. Here's the thing Ger, you're a big boy, I'm a big boy, she's a big girl. What I've learned is you can't force someone to accept an apology. Whether it's the Andreus, whether it's the LeMonds, whether it's Emma O'Reilly [...] I've traveled the world to make it right with these people."

"Not only did I say [sorry]," said Armstrong, "but I meant it. I don't know what else I need to do."

When pressed by Ger on why the LeMonds and the Andreus have not accepted the apology, Armstrong denied the claims that he was pushing them to sign a press release or that he should make some form of financial compensation to them. 

"Here's the thing Ger, I sat in that room not only with Greg and Kathy but with his lawyer and with my lawyer, and there were plenty of other people in that room, and I apologised to them. Never at any time did Greg and/or Kathy say 'hey, we feel like you owe us financially.' I don't need to get into the details of the conversation, the most important part is that I was sorry for my actions, I was embarrassed by my actions, and they accepted the apology."

Referring to testimony given by the Andreus that Armstrong had admitted to a doctor that he was doping in 1996, the former cyclist said that he still had no recollection of what was said in that hospital room. 

"I don't have a recollection of that conversation. This is perhaps where Betsy and I can never reconcile. She has a strong memory of it and I do not have a strong memory of it. I think it's highly improbable that at that moment in a patient's treatment process, that a doctor would come in and have an open conversation about that in front of a bunch of strangers."

"I'm sorry for the way I treated the Andreus, I have said that. I would love, at some point, for them to accept my apology, but some people just aren't in that place and may never be."

Turning his attention to the suggestions that he may well sit down with Paul Kimmage for an in depth interview at some point, Armstrong said: "Paul's an interesting case. I had one interaction with Paul at the press conference in California. I didn't handle it right. I'd love to, whether it's in an interview or over a beer or whatever, I'd sit with Paul any time and say 'Hey, my bad, I'm sorry. I was a complete dickhead."

"He wants to do an interview [...] I think there's a time and a place for he and I to sit down, but truth be told, I don't know Paul Kimmage. I don't have anything against Paul Kimmage. There was that one interaction which I'll fully cop to, I'll fully confess to that I was out of line, but sh*t, other than that, I'm happy to sit down with him at some point."

Armstrong was clear that he knows that he will be asked some uncomfortable question on his trip to Dublin next month for One Zero Con, but that those who attend will see that he doesn't intend to shy away from the difficult topics. 

"Every time I do a talk, I say to the room: 'I'm not here to bullshit you. If you ask the question I'm going to answer the question.' If there happens to be a question that is too close and too sensitive to the federal case here in the United States, I'm just going to tell you that I can't answer that question. Having said that, I've never not answered a question."

"You get some people that are genuinely, really pissed off. Those aren't the easiest questions, but that's just part of it. This is not something that people are going to forget about or move on from. People want something, whether it's an apology or a direct answer or some contrition, whatever it is, and I welcome those opportunities. It's the spot I've got myself in."