NEW YORK (REUTERS) - Lance Armstrong finally admitted to using performance enhancing drugs during his cycling career on Thursday, describing himself as a "bully" and a "deeply flawed character" in an interview with talk show host Oprah Winfrey, of which there is a video clip above from NowThisNews.
As expected, the former seven-times Tour de France winner admitted his success on the bike was fuelled by doping and confessed to using a series of drugs to boost his performance.
In the first part of an exclusive televised interview with Winfrey that was recorded three days earlier at his hometown of Austin, Texas, Armstrong confessed straight away.
"Yes," he replied when asked directly whether he used performance enhancing drugs.
Photo illustration showing a woman watching on her computer as Oprah Winfrey interviews cyclist Lance Armstrong about doping while competing professionally in the sport, as seen from Washington, DC, on Jan 17, 2013. The interview will run in two parts on Winfrey's OWN cable network and website. -- PHOTO: AFP
Cyclist Lance Armstrong is interviewed by Oprah Winfrey in Austin, Texas, in this Jan 14, 2013, handout photo courtesy of Harpo Studios. Seven-times Tour de France champion Armstrong confessed on Thursday to using performance-enhancing drugs during his much-anticipated interview with Oprah Winfrey. -- PHOTO: REUTERS
This combination made on June 14, 2012, shows seven file pictures (from top, left) taken in 2005, 2004, 2003, 2002, 2001, 2000 and 1999 of American cyclist Lance Armstrong posing on the podium on the Champs-Elysees in Paris after winning the Tour de France cylcing race and a picture taken in 2005 showing seven fingers (meaning seven victories) during the 92nd Tour de France. -- PHOTO: AFP
A picture taken on June 30, 1995, in Saint-Brieuc, western France, shows American Lance Armstrong undergoing the medical check-up before the 1995 Tour de France. Armstrong finally admitted to using performance enhancing drugs during his cycling career on Thursday, describing himself as a "bully" and a "deeply flawed character" in an interview with talk show host Oprah Winfrey. -- PHOTO: AFP
In this April 9, 2001, file photo, Lance Armstrong (left) appears during a news conference regarding doping accusations in Paris, as his lawyer Georges Kiejman watches. During an interview with Oprah Winfrey taped on Jan 14, 2013, Armstrong said he used performance-enhancing drugs to win the Tour de France cycling race, a person familiar with the situation told The Associated Press. -- PHOTO: AP
This Aug 29, 2012, file photo shows Lance Armstrong, chairman and founder at Livestrong, speak about Survivorship: changing the way the world fights cancer, during the World Cancer Congress, held in Montreal, Quebec. Armstrong finally admitted to using performance enhancing drugs during his cycling career on Thursday, describing himself as a "bully" and a "deeply flawed character" in an interview with talk show host Oprah Winfrey. -- PHOTO: AFP
This July 3, 2003, file photo shows Tour de France's doctor Gerard Porte checks the heartbeat of American Lance Armstrong (right) during the traditional medical check-up before the start of the 90th Tour de France at the Parc des expositions in Paris. Armstrong finally admitted to using performance enhancing drugs during his cycling career on Thursday, describing himself as a "bully" and a "deeply flawed character" in an interview with talk show host Oprah Winfrey -- PHOTO: AFP
In this July 24, 2002, file photo, Lance Armstrong walks out of the Tour de France's anti-doping control bus after the 16th stage of the Tour de France cycling race between Les Deux Alpes and La Plagne, French Alps. Armstrong said of the 2002 race, that cycling has suffered a "black eye" from doping scandals and he's not sure how it will affect interest. Sports Illustrated magazine named Armstrong Sportsman of the Year in 2002. -- PHOTO: AP
Fans hold a flag dedicated to seven-time Tour de France winner and Kazakh cycling team Astana's Lance Armstrong of the United States as they wait for the riders on July 8, 2009, in the 196.5km fifth stage of the 2009 Tour de France cycling race run between Le Cap d'Agde and Perpignan. Shamed cyclist Lance Armstrong has admitted that he used performance-enhancing drugs in a two-and-a-half hour interview with chat show host Oprah Winfrey. -- PHOTO: AFP
In this Sept 30, 2000, file photo Russia's Viacheslav Ekimov (centre) winner of the gold medal in the men's individual time trials, celebrates with Germany's silver medal winner Jan Ullrich (left) and United States bronze medal winner Lance Armstrong at the cycling road course in Sydney, for the Summer Olympic Games. Officials familiar with the decision tell The Associated Press the IOC has stripped Lance Armstrong of his bronze medal from the 2000 Sydney Olympics because of his involvement in doping. -- PHOTO: AP
In this July 25, 2010, file photo, Lance Armstrong looks back on the podium after the 20th and last stage of the Tour de France cycling race in Paris, France. Armstrong confessed to using performance-enhancing drugs to win the Tour de France during a taped interview with Oprah Winfrey that aired on Jan 17, 2013, reversing more than a decade of denial. -- PHOTO: AP
In this July 19, 2009, file photo, Lance Armstrong crosses the finish line during the 15th stage of the Tour de France cycling race in Verbier, Switzerland. Armstrong confessed to using performance-enhancing drugs to win the Tour de France during a taped interview with Oprah Winfrey that aired on Thursday, Jan 17, 2013, reversing more than a decade of denial. -- PHOTO: AP
A picture taken on Oct 18, 2012, in Paris shows a broken Livestrong wristband, a yellow silicone gel bracelet launched as a fund-raising item for the Lance Armstrong Foundation. The cancer charity founded by Lance Armstrong said on Jan 16, 2013, it expects the disgraced cyclist to be "completely truthful and forthcoming" in his interview with talk show diva Oprah Winfrey. -- PHOTO: AFP
He also said "yes" to a series of questions about whether he used specific drugs, including erythropoietin, human growth hormone and blood doping.
The American said he began doping in the mid 1990s and continued to cheat right up until 2005 when he won his final Tour de France. Asked why he had repeatedly lied about using drugs until Thursday’s admission, he told Winfrey: "I don't know I have a great answer.
"This is too late, probably for most people and that's my fault. I view this situation as one big lie that I repeated a lot of times.
"It's not as if I said no and moved off it. While I've lived through this process, I know the truth. The truth isn't what I said and now its gone," he said in the interview with Oprah, of which there is a video clip below from NowThisNews.
A cancer survivor who inspired millions of people with what had seemed like a fairytale, he said he did not believe he could have achieved what he did without breaking the rules because of the culture of drugs in cycling.
"Not in that generation. I didn't invent the culture, but I didn't try to stop the culture," he said.
"It's hard to talk about the culture. I don't want to accuse anyone else. I'm here to acknowledge my mistakes."
Armstrong's admission came just months after the United States Anti-Doping Agency released a detailed report describing him as the ringmaster of the "most sophisticated, professionalised and successful doping program that sport has ever seen".
He was banned for life and stripped of his all race wins. On Thursday, hours before the interview went to air, the International Olympic Committee stripped him of the bronze medal he won at the 2000 Games.
As a result of his confession, the 41-year-old Texan now faces the prospect of various legal challenges and orders to repay some of the money he earned from his success.