Armstrong: I deserve to compete again

Congleton Guardian: Armstrong was competing in triathlons, mountain bike events and marathons before he was sanctioned (AP/Steve Ruark) Armstrong was competing in triathlons, mountain bike events and marathons before he was sanctioned (AP/Steve Ruark)

Lance Armstrong believes he should be given the opportunity to compete again, saying: "I deserve to be punished. I'm not sure that I deserve a death penalty."

The 41-year-old Texan has confessed to using performance-enhancing drugs during all seven of his Tour de France victories. He was stripped of all results from August 1, 1998 and banned from sport for life.

Armstrong was competing in triathlons, mountain bike events and marathons before he was sanctioned and believes he deserves that opportunity in the future, suggesting a life ban is not right.

He told Oprah Winfrey in the second part of their television interview: "I can't lie to you. I'd love the opportunity to be able to compete, but that isn't the reason that I'm doing this.

"Frankly, this might not be the most popular answer, but I think I deserve it (to be able to compete again). I deserve to be punished. I'm not sure that I deserve a death penalty."

Eleven of Armstrong's former team-mates provided evidence against him in exchange for six-month suspensions.

He added: "If you look at the situation, if you look at that culture, you look at the sport, you see the punishments. I could go back to that time... you're trading my story for a six-month suspension. That's what people got. What everybody got. I got a death penalty. I'm not saying that that's unfair, necessarily, but I'm saying it's different."

After years of denials, Armstrong confirmed that during his record run, from 1999 to 2005, he used blood-boosting agent EPO, blood doping, testosterone, cortisone and human growth hormone.

Armstrong, who was last October stripped of all results dating from August 1, 1998 and banned from sport for life, denied doping during his comeback from retirement in 2009, when he finished third in the Tour, and 2010 and refuted suggestions he paid off cycling's world governing body, the UCI, to cover up a positive test in 2001.

In hindsight he wishes he had co-operated with the United States Anti-Doping Agency investigation which proved his downfall. Co-operation could have meant a lesser penalty.

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