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Armstrong admits to 'difficult times'

other Updated: Oct 21, 2012 00:08 IST
Lance Armstrong

Lance Armstrong has admitted to "difficult" times since the release of a report which accused the shamed cyclist of being at the heart of the most sophisticated doping programme ever seen in sport.

Making his first public remarks since the release of US Anti-Doping Agency's (USADA) damning report, Armstrong did not refer directly to the scandal, saying: "It's been a difficult couple of weeks for me and my family, my friends and this foundation.

"We will not be deterred. We will move forward."

The 41-year-old American made his comments to 1,500 guests at a gala fundraiser for cancer charity Livestrong, which he founded 15 years ago after fighting testicular cancer. But on Wednesday he stepped down as chairman of Livestrong in an effort to protect the foundation from the scandal swirling around him.

World cycling's governing body the International Cycling Union (UCI) will respond to the report on Monday, and whether it backs USADA's demand that Armstrong be banned for life and stripped of the seven Tour de France titles that made him a sports icon.

UCI president Pat McQuaid will also come under scrutiny for his handling of doping issues in cycling.

Anne Gripper, who ran UCI's anti-doping arm from 2006 to early 2010, told The Age in Australia that the UCI should have handled things better.

The USADA report, Gripper said, showed "not so much that he (Armstrong) was a doping cheat - I think everybody accepts that just about all cyclists were doing it - but the way he orchestrated that programme and, more importantly, the bullying (and) the tactics used to influence the behaviour and choices of young impressionable riders."