If he was racing today, Lance Armstrong wouldn't dope, he tells the BBC, "because I don't think you have to." But if you were to put him in a time machine and take him "back to 1995, when doping was completely pervasive," he says, "I would probably do it again." That's not to say he has no regrets, he says in his first TV interview since his Oprah Winfrey confessional. (The BBC is airing a 30-minute documentary on Armstrong Thursday.) During his doping years, he was also "an asshole to a dozen people," some of whom had accused him of doping, he explains, so "I would want to change the man that did those things, maybe not the decision, but the way he acted. The way he treated people, the way he couldn't stop fighting. It was unacceptable, inexcusable."
- As for the seven Tour de France titles that were stripped from him but never given to anyone else, he says, "I think there has to be a winner, I'm just saying that as a fan. There's a huge block in World War I with no winners, and there's another block in World War II, and then it seems like there's another world war. I don't think history is stupid, history rectifies a lot of things. If you ask me what happens in 50 years, I don't think it sits empty ... I feel like I won those Tours."
- In fact, he already feels like the world is nearly ready to see him return to public life, and he's talking to the Cycling Independent Reform Commission to see if it will recommend a reduction of his ban. He'd like to be able to "compete in some sport at a fairly high level" and raise money for charity.
- And, he adds, some good things came of cycling's "bad decision" to cheat: It was "an imperfect time," he says, "but it happened. And I know what happened because of that. I know what happened to the sport, I saw its growth." Not only did the sport grow, but his cancer charity started bringing in big bucks. "Do we want to take it away? I don't think anybody says 'yes.'"