(Sports Network) - Lance Armstrong finally admitted that he doped and repeatedly used several banned substances throughout his once-distinguished, now tarnished cycling career, confirming years of rumors and accusations of illegal drug use by the disgraced former 7-time Tour de France champion and putting an end to Armstrong's repeated defiant denials that he cheated.
In the first of a two-part interview with Oprah Winfrey that aired on the television personality's OWN Network on Thursday, Armstrong revealed that he did in fact take part in blood doping and transfusions, used EPO, testosterone, cortisone and human growth hormone -- and performed all of the above throughout the entirety of his record-setting run of seven consecutive Tour de France titles from 1999-2005.
Armstrong's acknowledgement comes just two months after he was stripped of all seven Tour de France wins following a lengthy and comprehensive investigation of the 41-year-old American and his former teams by the United States Anti- Doping Agency (USADA).
The renowned cancer survivor also stated he believed none of his Tour de France victories would have been possible without the aid of performance- enhancing substances, which he said were so prevalent in the cycling profession during his reign of dominance of the sport that it would have been practically impossible to legitimately compete without doping.
"I didn't invent the culture, but I didn't try to stop the culture, and that's my mistake, and that's what I have to be sorry for, and that's what something and the sport is now paying the price because of that," he said. "So I am sorry for that. I don't think -- I didn't have access to anything else that nobody else did."
Armstrong was somewhat apologetic towards his accusers, among them former teammates and support staff members whose testimony to the International Cycling Union led to UCI handing him a lifetime ban from competitive cycling back in October, and whom Armstrong had both repeatedly questioned, chastised -- and in many cases, sued -- in the past.
"I viewed this situation as one big lie that I repeated a lot of times," he told Winfrey. "And as you said, it wasn't as if I just said no and I moved off it.
"I know the truth. The truth isn't what was out there. The truth isn't what I said, and now it's gone -- this story was so perfect for so long. And I mean that, as I try to take myself out of the situation and I look at it. You overcome the [cancer], 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."
Armstrong did still contend USADA's report that he remained doping while competing in the 2009 and 2010 Tour de France following a comeback to the sport, stating he raced clean in both of those events. Armstrong placed third overall in the 2009 edition.
"It's the only thing in that whole report that really upset me," he said. "Obviously, it upset me. But the accusation and the alleged proof that they say that I doped after my comeback, is not true. The last time I crossed the line, that line, was 2005."
Armstrong also maintained that other than ones that were taken retroactively, he never failed a test during his cycling career.
"Technically, yes, then those retroactively, I failed those. But the hundreds and hundreds of tests that I took, I passed them, and I passed them because there was nothing in the system.
The Winfrey interview was also broadcast on the same day the International Olympic Committee stripped Armstrong of the bronze medal he won in the individual time trial in the Sydney Olympics, a show of support by the organization to UCI and USADA's findings.
01/17 23:38:25 ET