Armstrong: I bullied O'Reilly

  • Last Updated: January 18 2013, 7:52 GMT

Lance Armstrong has admitted to being a bully and a control-freak after discrediting witnesses who exposed his use of performance-enhancing drugs.

Lance Armstrong: Was a 'control freak'

The disgraced cyclist hinted at the personality which kept the extent of his cheating hidden until he confessed to doping in a television interview with Oprah Winfrey.

"Yes, I was a bully," Armstrong told Oprah. "I was a bully in the sense I tried to control the narrative. And if someone challenged that I would simply say 'that's a lie, they are the liars'."

The 41-year-old, who survived cancer before winning seven successive Tours de France, has begun the process of apologising for the lies, deceit and betrayal which occurred prior to his admission of guilt.

One of those apologies has been directed towards Manchester-based Irish masseuse Emma O'Reilly, who worked with the United States Postal Service team during his winning run, which began in 1999.

She revealed Armstrong received a back-dated therapeutic user exemption certificate for corticosteroids at the 1999 Tour to ensure he did not test positive.

"She is one of these people that I have to apologise to," Armstrong added.

"She's one of these people that got run over, got bullied.

"I have reached out to her and tried to make those amends on my own."

Asked to confirm if he sued O'Reilly, Armstrong said: "We sued so many people I'm sure we did.

"It's a major flaw. It's a guy who expected to get whatever he wanted and to control every outcome. It's inexcusable."

Armstrong attempted to discredit O'Reilly by calling her a "whore". "I was just on the attack," he said.

Another person who felt the full force of Armstrong was Betsy Andreu, the wife of Armstrong's former team-mate Frankie Andreu.

Armstrong refused to confirm or deny claims she heard him telling doctors at Indiana University Hospital that he had used performance-enhancing drugs. He was being treated for cancer at the time.

Armstrong has recently spoken at length to her, but they are yet to make peace.

He said: "She asked me and I asked her not to talk about the details of the call. It was a personal conversation.

"They (the Andreus) have been hurt too badly and a 40-minute conversation isn't enough.

"I said 'listen, I called you crazy. I called you a bitch. I called you all these things, but I never called you fat'."

The United States Anti-Doping Agency compiled evidence from 11 former team-mates, O'Reilly and Betsy Andreu which led to Armstrong's downfall and public confession.

Armstrong denied claims made in evidence to USADA that doping was necessary to ride for his team. He admits the implication was there, though.

He said: "There was never a direct order or a directive to say 'you have to do this if you want to do the Tour, if you want to be on the team'.

"I was the leader of the team and the leader of any team leads by example.

"If you do it you're leading by example. That's a problem."

When Armstrong discovered George Hincapie, a team-mate whom he once described as "like a brother", had given evidence against him he said "my fate was sealed".

Armstrong added: "George is the most credible voice in all of this. He did all seven Tours.

"I've known him since I was 16. We practically lived together, we trained together every day. And, for the record, we're still great friends. We still talk once a week.

"I don't fault George Hincapie, but George knows this story better than anybody."

Armstrong retired after the seventh of his consecutive Tour de France titles in 2005, but returned in 2009 for two years.

"We wouldn't be sitting here if I didn't come back," Armstrong added.

Floyd Landis, another of Armstrong's team-mates at the United States Postal Service, was stripped of the 2006 Tour title for a positive testosterone test, and turned against his compatriot when denied a place in the 2009 team Armstrong helped establish for his return to the sport.

"The comeback didn't sit well with Floyd and so that period began this," Armstrong said.

"Floyd had been sending me these text messages, saying 'I've videoed everything and I'm going to put it on YouTube'.

"Finally I said 'Look, man. Do what you need to do. Just leave me alone'.

"He didn't go the YouTube route. He went to the Wall Street Journal with the story."

Armstrong attempted to keep Landis on his side by supporting him, but was forced into a rebuttal when the allegations came out.

Armstrong knows he may never be accepted.

He said: "There are people that will hear this and will never forgive me. I understand that.

"All of this is a process for me. One of the steps of that process is to speak to people directly and just say to them that I am sorry. I was wrong. You were right."

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