I’m fall guy - Merckx era wasn’t clean either, insists Armstrong

DISGRACED former cyclist Lance Armstrong has reiterated his belief that he has been made a scapegoat and insisted that doping, or some form of cheating, has existed throughout the sport’s history.

In his first interview since confessing this month to doping his way to seven Tour de France titles, Armstrong also said a truth and reconciliation commission was cycling’s only way forward.

Asked whether he felt like “the fall guy for an entire sport”, the American, stripped of his titles and banned for life, said: “Actually, yes I do. But I understand why. We all make the beds we sleep in.”

He added: “My generation was no different than any other. The ‘help’ has evolved over the years but the fact remains that our sport is damn hard, the Tour was invented as a stunt, and very tough motherf***ers have competed for a century and all looked for advantages.

“From hopping on trains 100 years ago to [banned blood-booster] EPO now. No generation was exempt or ‘clean’. Not Merckx’s, not Hinault’s, not LeMond’s, not Coppi’s, not Gimondi’s, not Indurain’s, not Anquetil’s, not Bartali’s, and not mine.”

Of the prospect of a truth and reconcilliation commission, he said: “It’s not the best way, it’s the only way. As much as I’m the eye of the storm this is not about one man, one team, one director.”

Meanwhile, Luxembourg’s Frank Schleck is set to miss the Tour after testing positive in last year’s race.