Lance Armstrong Wants Amnesty Program for Cyclists Who Speak Out About Doping

Richard Langford@@noontide34Correspondent IJanuary 30, 2013

AUSTIN, TX - JANUARY 14:  In this handout photo provided by the Oprah Winfrey Network, Oprah Winfrey (not pictured) speaks with Lance Armstrong during an interview regarding the controversy surrounding his cycling career January 14, 2013 in Austin, Texas.  Oprah Winfrey’s exclusive no-holds-barred interview with Lance Armstrong, 'Oprah and Lance Armstrong: The Worldwide Exclusive,' has expanded to air as a two-night event on OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network.  The special episode of 'Oprah’s Next Chapter' will air Thursday, January 17 from 9-10:30 p.m. ET/PT (as previously announced) and Friday, January 18 at 9 p.m. ET/PT. The interview will be simultaneously streamed LIVE worldwide both nights on  (Photo by George Burns/Oprah Winfrey Network via Getty Images)
Handout/Getty Images

Roughly two weeks after admitting to cheating in the sport he once dominated, Lance Armstrong is calling for an amnesty program in cycling. 

He also made sure to point out that the sport's underhanded climate existed long before he came into the picture. 

Lance made these comments in an email interview with Cyclingnews

The 'help' has evolved over the years but the fact remains that our sport is damn hard, the Tour was invented as a stunt, and very tough [riders] have competed for a century and all looked for advantages, from hopping on trains 100 years ago to EPO now.

No generation was exempt or 'clean.' Not Merckx's, not Hinault's, not LeMond's, not Coppi's, not Gimondi's, not Indurain's, not Anquetil's, not Bartali's, and not mine.

Because he was simply carrying on the tradition, Armstrong believes he, and other past offenders, should be granted amnesty if they detail all they know about doping. 

When asked if he should have his ban lifted, Armstrong responded:

That's irrelevant. What is relevant is that everyone is treated equally and fairly. We all made the mess, let's all fix the mess, and let's all be punished equally.

While it is easy to dismiss this as Armstrong simply trying to rebuild his sullied image, he raises a good point. 

In a sport where competitors seemingly have to cheat to succeed, and with performance enhancers constantly evolving past the capabilities of drug testing, the only way to get any kind of honesty and truth is to remove serious punishment. 

Armstrong was also sure to make it clear that the international cycling body, UCI, should have nothing to do with the process. He was especially critical of UCI president Pat McQuaid.

This fallen Tour de France legend has gone to great lengths to destroy his credibility, but that doesn't mean all of his ideas should be disregarded. The cycling world would be well served to contemplate the merits of the amnesty program Armstrong brings up in this interview.