The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

Sports

January 19, 2013

Armstrong emotional when recalling talk with son

(Continued)

"No, that's not true," he replied, repeating, "That is not true."

Winfrey asks the question three more times, in different forms.

"That is not true," he insisted.

USADA spokeswoman Annie Skinner replied in a statement: "We stand by the facts both in the reasoned decision and in the '60 Minutes' interview."

Armstrong has talked with USADA officials, and a meeting with Tygart near the Denver airport reportedly ended in an argument over the possibility of modifying the lifetime ban. A person familiar with those conversations said Armstrong could provide information that might get his ban reduced to eight years. By then, he would be 49. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because he was discussing a confidential matter.

After retiring from cycling in 2011, Armstrong returned to triathlons, where he began his professional career as a teenager, and he has told people he's desperate to get back.

Winfrey asked if that was why he agreed to the interview.

"If you're asking me, do I want to compete again ... the answer is hell, yes," Armstrong said. "I'm a competitor. It's what I've done my whole life. I love to train. I love to race. I love to toe the line — and I don't expect it to happen."

Yet just three questions later, a flash of the old Armstrong emerged.

"Frankly," he said, "this may not be the most popular answer, but I think I deserve it. Maybe not right now ... (but) if I could go back to that time and say, 'OK, you're trading my story for a six-month suspension?' Because that's what people got."

"What other people got?" Winfrey asked.

"What everybody got," he replied.

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