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Armstrong confesses to drug use

By Laura Gardiner
18 January 2013 01:05PM EST

DISGRACED cyclist Lance Armstrong has dramatically confirmed he engaged in illegal drug taking for virtually his whole career.

Blowing the lid on his whole drug-riddled career, in which for more than a decade he vehemently denied ever using substances to enhance his remarkable cycling achievements, Armstrong admitted he has been living a lie.

"I review this situation as one big lie," Armstrong confessed to talk show queen Oprah Winfrey on Friday.

The disgraced former world sport great revealed he had been engaged in the use of EPO, a performance enhancing banned substance, for his entire career, starting "in the mid-1990s".

"I know the truth. The truth isn't what was out there, the truth isn't what I said," Armstrong continued.

"This story was so perfect for so long... you overcome the disease, you win the Tour de France seven times, you have a happy marriage, you have children.

"I mean, it's just this mythic, perfect story.

"And it wasn't true."

Throughout the entire 90-minute interview, Armstrong constantly admitted to a career of lies and deceit, even confessing he knew the people he sued, for speaking out against him, were telling the truth.

The famously intense Armstrong also confessed to encouraging his cycling teammates to take performance enhancing drugs, declaring he had been a bully.

"Yeah. I was a bully ... in that, I tried to control the narrative," he confessed. 

Armstrong disclosed a firm belief that he could never have won a remarkable seven consecutive Tour de France events without use of performance enhancing drugs.

Armstrong, 41, made the startling admissions in a long-reaching and "no-holds-barred" interview with Winfrey, simulcast to a wide and captivated international audience on Friday.

But, he claimed he never used illegal drugs again after his last Tour de France title win in 2005.

Armstrong also confirmed he was not alone in his doping in the US Postal Service team, but declaring none of his teammates were forced to be involved.

The former cycling champion was stripped of his seven Tour de France titles by the International Cycling Union back in October last year.

Armstrong stopped short of an admission of guilt when he dropped his fight against the United States Anti-Doping Agency's charges of years of serious and systematic doping.

Armstrong had previously slammed USADA's case as a "witch-hunt".

The ICU also banned Armstong from professional cycling for life, erasing his entire career all the way back to 1998.

It came after USADA released a damning 202-page dossier on Armstrong, which also included 1,000 pages of testimonial, detailing how he was the ringleader of the biggest doping program in the history of the sport.

Armstrong now faces lawsuits from numerous sponsors.

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