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Lance Armstrong interview reaction: More skepticism than sympathy

PARIS Now that Lance Armstrong has confessed to what most people already knew, sports officials want to know more.

Many believe Armstrong's televised interview with Oprah Winfrey, in which he admitted to using performance-enhancing drugs on his way to seven Tour de France titles, did not go far enough.

"He didn't name names. He didn't say who supplied him, what officials were involved," WADA President John Fahey told The Associated Press on Friday.

"My feeling after watching the interview is that he indicated that he probably would not have gotten caught if he hadn't returned to the sport," Fahey added. "If he was looking for redemption, he didn't succeed in getting that."

After refuting doping allegations ever since he won his first Tour de France in 1999, Armstrong admitted on Thursday that he used the blood-booster EPO, testosterone and blood doping at least since the mid-1990s. He has been stripped of all the titles and banned from competing for life following a U.S. Anti-Doping Agency report that detailed his cheating.

But amid a long interview in which he came clean on doping throughout his seven tour titles, he said he wasn't cheating when he returned to ride in the 2009 and '10 Tours.


Pierre Bordry, the head of the French Anti-Doping Agency from 2005-10, said there was nothing to guarantee that Armstrong isn't still lying and protecting others.

"He's going in the right direction but with really small steps," Bordry told the AP in a telephone interview. "He needs to bring his testimony about the environment and the people who helped him. He should do it before an independent commission or before USADA and that would no doubt help the future of cycling."

IOC vice president Thomas Bach said Armstrong's admission - after years of vehement denials - was not nearly enough for the Texan to get his credibility back or help the sport clean itself up.

"I think this is too little, too late," Bach, a German lawyer who leads the IOC's anti-doping investigations, told the AP. "It's a first step in the right direction but no more.

"If he really loves his sport and wants to regain at least some credibility, then he should tell the whole truth and cooperate with the relevant sports bodies."

USADA chief executive Travis Tygart, who pursued the case against Armstrong when others had stopped, also felt Armstrong must go further.

"If he is sincere in his desire to correct his past mistakes, he will testify under oath about the full extent of his doping activities," Tygart said.

In his defense, Armstrong said he was doping because using illegal substances was the only for him to compete on a level playing field.

Daniel Baal, the former president of the French Cycling Federation and the Tour deputy race director from 2001-04, was scathing in his assessment of Armstrong.

"He says that it is about professionalism, that it is part of the job to dope. This is unbelievable, unacceptable," Baal told the AP. "He knowingly broke these rules. And to say (what he said) is to once again make a fool of the other cyclists."

Irish journalist David Walsh, whose articles for the London Sunday Times and books detailed the American cyclist's use of banned substances, agreed the interview fell short.

"He has to name names ... he is probably the biggest cheat sport has ever known," Walsh said on the BBC.

Even former athletes weren't swayed.

Former cyclist Christophe Bassons, who was hounded by Armstrong at the 1999 Tour for speaking out against doping, said the cancer survivor appeared "cold, hard," in the interview.

"He didn't let any sentiment show, even when he spoke of regrets. Well, that's Lance Armstrong," Bassons told the AP. "There's always a portion of lies in what he says, in my opinion. He's not totally honest even in his so-called confession. I think he admits some of it to avoid saying the rest."

Top-ranked tennis player Novak Djokovic said at the Australian Open that Armstrong "should suffer for his lies all these years."

"It's a disgrace for the sport to have an athlete like this," he said.

The International Cycling Union, the governing body of cycling, and its former president appear to be the most satisfied with what they heard.

The UCI has been accused of protecting Armstrong and covering up positive tests, something Armstrong denied to Winfrey.

"I am pleased that after years of accusations being made against me the conspiracy theories have been shown to be nothing more than that," said Hein Verbruggen, the president of the UCI from 1991-2005. "I have no doubt that the peddlers of such accusations and conspiracies will be disappointed by this outcome."

The UCI, now led by Pat McQuaid, hailed Armstrong's statements as a new start for cycling.

"Lance Armstrong's decision finally to confront his past is an important step forward on the long road to repairing the damage that has been caused to cycling and to restoring confidence in the sport," McQuaid in a statement.

Jonathan Vaughters, a former Tour de France teammate of Lance Armstrong who also admitted using performance-enhancing drugs and testified against Armstrong before the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency, said on "CBS This Morning," the confession is "a good first step."

More reactions from Lance Armstrong's Oprah interview:

"We at the LIVESTRONG Foundation are disappointed by the news that Lance Armstrong misled people during and after his cycling career, including us. Earlier this week, Lance apologized to our staff and we accepted his apology in order to move on and chart a strong, independent course. We look forward to devoting our full energy to our mission of helping people not only fight and survive cancer, but also thrive in life after cancer." — Official statement from the Livestrong Foundation, founded by Armstrong in 1997.


"I don't want to waste any more of my time with Lance Armstrong. He's an incredible actor and that's what you (saw) today on the Oprah Winfrey Show." — Former Armstrong mechanic and assistant Mike Anderson, who had to battle legal action after accusing the Texan of drug use.


"After years of lying to my face, Lance Armstrong apologizes in an email. He can keep it." — Veteran sports writer Rick Reilly, via Twitter.


"I commend (at)lancearmstrong for courageously coming forward, but I am disappointed that he let down the sport and his fans." — Former Los Angeles Lakers star Magic Johnson, via Twitter.


"The problem with people like Lance, or any other dug cheat, is that they think everyone else is doing it so they have to do it. In fact not everyone else is doing it." — Two-time Tour de France stage winner Robbie McEwen at the Tour Down Under.


"The hope he's giving cancer patients and money he's raised trumps his wrong doings." — Former NFL receiver Chad Johnson, via Twitter.


"So it's official — (at)lancearmstrong is the worst lying, doping cheat in the history of sport." — TV host Piers Morgan, via Twitter.


"The thing about (at)lancearmstrong is that he also used his platform to call many good ppl liars." — Former heavyweight boxing champion Lennox Lewis, via Twitter.


"Lance Armstrong? Isn't this type of confession usually a tearful one? When does the guy start crying?" — Sportscaster Jim Rome, via Twitter.


"Cold-blooded and cut-throat to the end." — USA Today sports columnist Christine Brennan, via Twitter.


"Sports is not life and death...but the work (at)lancearmstrong does for cancer research and cancer victims is." — Lieutenant Governor of California Gavin Newsom, via Twitter.


"Raise your hand if you think (at)lancearmstrong understands how much he ruined the lives of people who were telling the truth." — CNN correspondent Jake Tapper, via Twitter.


"The Don Corleone of Cycling. Who knew?" — Former Heisman Trophy winner Desmond Howard, via Twitter.

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