Armstrong questions severity of ban
Cycling:Lance Armstrong says he received the "death penalty" for using performance-enhancing drugs and lying about it for over a decade, but the disgraced cyclist still harbours a strong desire to compete and hopes his lifetime ban will one day be lifted.
In contrast to the impassive confessions to doping Armstrong gave in the first part of his interview with US talk show host Oprah Winfrey, Armstrong struggled with his emotions last night as he discussed the impact his fall had had on his family.
Armstrong said he owed a lot of people an apology, including former masseuse Dubliner Emma O'Reilly, and Sunday Timessports journalist David Walsh. The latter was quick to respond on Twitter, saying: "Oprah pressured him, the apology was, I thought, hesitantly promised. I didn't ask for it, or expect it, but, yes, if its offered, I accept."
Eyes welling up and pausing to gather his composure, Armstrong recalled the moment he told his children the accusations against him were true and said the fallout from the affair had left his mother "a wreck".
The most humbling moment had come when he had to stand aside from Livestrong, the cancer foundation he established, he said.
"The ultimate crime is the betrayal of these people who support me and believed in me and they got lied to," he said.
Critics said Armstrong had shown little sign of contrition in the first part of his interview, but in the second part, aired last night, there appeared to be genuine remorse.
The Texan conceded he deserved to be punished for years of doping that helped him win a record seven Tour de France titles.
However, he said the penalty he was given by the US Anti-Doping Agency (Usada) was much harsher than the sanctions dished out to other self-confessed cheats, who were given lesser sentences for testifying against him.
"I am not saying that's unfair, I'm saying it is different," he said in a comment sure to infuriate his critics. I deserve to be punished but I am not sure I deserve the death penalty." The 41-year-old said he had no ambitions to return to professional cycling but just wanted to be able to compete in sanctioned events, though he conceded his chances were slim.
"With this penalty, this punishment, I made my bed," he said. "Would I love to run the Chicago marathon when I am 50? I would love to do that but I can't.
"Realistically, I don't think that will happen and I've got to live with that."