Lance Armstrong: I would dope again

Lance Armstrong would dope again, which might be the most honest thing he's said since, well, ever.

"If I was racing in 2015, no I wouldn't do it again because I don't think you have to do it again," he said in an interview with BBC. "If you take me back to 1995, when it was completely and totally pervasive, I would probably do it again. People don’t like to hear that."

People won't like to hear him say that, and the quote will provide more fodder for those who now see Armstrong as the biggest fraud sports (any sport) has ever known. But here's the thing: he's just providing an honest assessment of his sport circa 1995 and beyond.

In his book "The Secret Race," Tyler Hamilton, Armstrong's former teammate, writes of his decision to start doping. Hamilton explained that for most professional cyclists the decision is made in your third year of competition, or after about 1,000 days. The first year, he wrote, is all about just being happy to be there. The second, you realize your best isn't good enough. The third you approach a fork in the road: you either dope and continue or don't and quit, because without doping you won't be competitive.

Hamilton wrote:

"… In my opinion this decision isn't really about honor or character. I know wonderful people who doped; I know questionable people who decided not to. For me, the only fact that mattered was that for a thousand days I had been cheated out of my livelihood, and there was no sign that things were going to get better. So I did what many others had done before me. I joined the brotherhood."

Stripped of his seven Tour de France titles and banned for life from competition, Armstrong said in the BBC interview that his life has been "brutal" since he told Oprah Winfrey that he cheated.

"The fallout has been heavy, maybe heavier than I thought. It was, you know, pretty brutal afterwards. It's been tough."

For that he only has himself to blame.

Armstrong certainly wasn't the reason for doping's introduction to cycling. He may have helped perfect it, but it was a problem before he ever showed up.

However, the lengths he reportedly went through to cover it up were, for many, unconscionable. He publically assassinated characters, threatened people legally, did whatever he needed to do to protect his image and, by extension, his brand.

"I would want to change the man that did those things, maybe not the decision, but the way he acted," he said. "The way he treated people, the way he couldn't stop fighting. It was unacceptable, inexcusable."