Lance Armstrong says he couldn’t have won the Tour de France without doping and feels that he is still the winner of the 1999-2005 races.
“It is fine to erase my name from the record book, but the Tour was held between 1999-2005, wasn’t it? It was held and there was a winner. Who was he? No one has manifested to claim my jerseys,” Armstong told French publication Le Monde, via The Associated Press.
According to the AP, Armstrong was asked if he thought it was possible to win races without doping when he competed.
“That depends on which races you wanted to win. The Tour de France? No. Impossible to win without doping,” Armstrong said. “Because the Tour is a test of endurance where oxygen is decisive.”
“I did not invent doping,” Le Monde quoted Armstrong as saying. “And nor did it end with me.”
Armstrong was asked later by the AP to clarify his comments. He said on Twitter that he was talking about the period from 1995-2005.
“Today? I have no idea. I’m hopeful it’s possible,” Armstrong tweeted.
International Cycling Union president Pat McQuaid released a statement Friday before Armstrong clarified his comments on Twitter.
“I can tell him categorically that he is wrong. His comments do absolutely nothing to help cycling,” McQuaid said. “The culture within cycling has changed since the Armstrong era and it is now possible to race and win clean.
“Riders and teams owners have been forthright in saying that it is possible to win clean — and I agree with them.”
The 100th Tour de France begins Saturday and ends July 21.