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In PBS interview, Armstrong says USADA investigation has not helped cycling

Along with former U.S. Postal Service pro Scott Mercier and two-time under-23 national road champion Ian MacGregor, Lance Armstrong spoke to Rocky Mountain PBS for an episode of the station’s news program “Colorado Quarterly,” which is scheduled to broadcast at 7:30 p.m. MDT on Friday evening.

All three former pro racers reside in Colorado. Armstrong participated in the interview by phone, from Aspen. The show was moderated by Rocky Mountain PBS President and CEO Doug Price. The episode will be available for online viewing once it has aired.

Price asked Armstrong if what had happened to him was worth it, and necessary for the good of the sport.

“That’s a great question,” Armstrong replied evenly, “and one that I ask myself every day. My answer is not a popular one. My answer is that it wasn’t worth it.

“I can look at what it’s done to our sport, I look at how teams and sponsors are fleeing, events are folding, participation is down,” Armstrong said. “It all stems from choices I made. But with all due respect, [the USADA investigation] was not an effort to clean up cycling. Because in order to do that you have to truly take a global view and a global look at this thing, and a global commission has to do it, which I think we’ve started to do now.”

Mercier, who rode for Postal before Armstrong, but left the sport to avoid PEDs, has become friends with Armstrong in the months since Armstrong admitted to doping.

“Ironically, Lance was the greatest athlete of our generation, doping or no doping,” said Mercier. “He had huge success, but he’s suffering now. I’m suffering by not knowing what could have been for me. But I’m proud to be friends with Lance.”

MacGregor, who raced much of his career under Jonathan Vaughters at Slipstream Sports, said he was never forced to make that choice.

“I want to be clear. I didn’t make a choice,” MacGregor said. “I was supported by a sponsor trying to encourage us to make a different choice. I was insulated.”

In the interview, Armstrong admitted that his future was uncertain, that it lies “in what the world lets me do.”

“It wasn’t pretty and I’m not proud of it, but it was what it was,” Armstrong said.

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