Return to Transcripts main page
CNN LIVE EVENT/SPECIAL
The World According to Lance Armstrong
Aired October 20, 2013 - 22:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Lance Armstrong salutes the crowd. Seven- time winner of the tour de France.
QUENTIN MCDERMOTT, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): The moment of triumph, now turned epic disgrace.
After years of strenuous denial, Lance Armstrong has admitted in interview with Oprah Winfrey that he used performance-enhancing drugs.
LANCE ARMSTRONG, FORMER CYCLIST: I viewed this situation as one big lie.
MCDERMOTT: The United States anti-doping agency or USADA says that Armstrong was part of an organized conspiracy by the U.S. postal service team to dupe the public and fool the authorities.
BETSY ANDREU, FRANKIE ANDREU'S WIFE: You're looking at the Bernie Madoff of sport. This is the biggest fraud in the history of sport, the biggest. He couldn't have done it alone.
MCDERMOTT: Armstrong has been stripped of his seven tour de France victories, banned from his sport, left his charity and lost nearly everything. But he hopes comments like these he made on the Own network --
ARMSTRONG: They are my mistake and I'm sorry for that.
MCDERMOTT: -- might be enough to help restore his reputation and rewrite his story.
ARMSTRONG: You win the tour de France seven times, you have a happy marriage, you have children -- it's just this mythic, perfect story. And it wasn't true.
DAVIS EPSTEIN, SENIOR WRITER, SPORTS ILLUSTRATED: It's the greatest sports story ever told in many ways. And that's why it's been the most traumatic fall from grace.
OPRAH WINFREY, TV HOST: Yes or no, did you ever take banned substances to enhance your cycling performance?
ARMSTRONG: Yes. My cocktail, so to speak, was only EPO, but not a lot, transfusions and testosterone.
MCDERMOTT: Doping, he told Winfrey, was just part of doing business.
ARMSTRONG: We have to have air in our tires or we have to have water in our bottles. That was, in my view, part of the job.
WINFREY: Are you saying that's how common it was?
EPSTEIN: To compare to drinking water or putting air in your tires is ridiculous because sports are based on agreed upon rules and nobody comes after you for putting air in your tires and you don't sue people for accusing you putting air in your tires.
MCDERMOTT: Doping may have been prevalent, but Armstrong said it was never the system USADA claimed.
ARMSTRONG: It was definitely professional and it was definitely smart, if you can call it that. But it was very conservative, very risk-averse.
MCDERMOTT: He also disputed claims that he was the ring leader who forced teammates into doping.
ARMSTRONG: The idea that anybody was forced or pressured or encouraged is not true.
JOHN EUSTICE, FORMER CYCLIST: He called the shots. If you're going to be on the team to win the tour de France, you have to have a certain performance level. Now, if you don't have that level, you're not going to make the team. It's that simple.
MCDERMOTT: And when people accused him of doping, Armstrong demolished them.
ARMSTRONG: I was a bully in the sense that I tried to control the narrative. And if I didn't like what somebody said and for whatever reasons in my own head, whether I viewed that as somebody being disloyal or as a friend turning on you, or whatever, I tried to control that and say, that's a lie, they're liars.
EUSTICE: I think the public will forgive him the doping, but it's the bullying, the savagery.
EPSTEIN: He sort of sidestepped certain questions about people whose lives he tried to ruin when he knew they were telling the truth.
MCDERMOTT: Now Armstrong likely faces new legal problems.
JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: He opened himself up to all sorts of charges of fraud, that he defrauded the race. He defrauded the postal service. He defrauded anyone who gave him money on the assumption that he was playing by the rules.
MCDERMOTT: Sponsorships lost, millions in prize money now at risk, but that may not be the worst of it.
TOOBIN: He can be sued and this is the big risk, in the federal whistle-blower case and that is where the big money is. That could be a $30 million judgment tripled to $90 million.
MCDERMOTT: Nearly all of a personal wealth estimated at $100 million.
TOOBIN: Well, I was stunned that he did the interview at all. Any lawyer would have said, say nothing. Say nothing. He only hurt himself.
MCDERMOTT: So why do the interview at all?
EPSTEIN: I think it's possible that in some small ways this interview could help him. So, he has to start somewhere. But I think if he's going to have some measure of redemption. There's some necessary steps that he would have gotten out of the way but he certainly hasn't come fully clean.
MCDERMOTT: USADA says coming fully clean means testifying under oath.
EUSTICE: He has information that USADA wants and they want it badly. That if they want to know how the whole thing worked.
EPSTEIN: He actually refused to go into details a lot of, you know, about quite a few things, about the system of doping, about the system of avoidance, of detection.
MCDERMOTT: Details USADA says they need to hear before they lift the sporting ban.
EUSTICE: He wants back in somehow. And he wants to be able to compete and he wants to continue his charity work with his foundation.
MCDERMOTT: That foundation, Livestrong, has raised $500 million for cancer awareness. But Armstrong may have jeopardized its future.
EPSTEIN: There's never been a more convincing denier. There's never been someone who has leveraged cancer patients as part of their doping denial. There has never been someone who was as trusted and inspired as many. And which I think means there's never been a sports figure and let down so many.
MCDERMOTT: And left so many people angry, as former friend Betsy Andreu.
BETSY ANDREU: He owed it to me. You owed it to me, Lance and you dropped the ball. After, what you have done to me, what you have done to my family and you are quitting on up to it. And now, we're supposed to believe you? You have one chance at the truth. This is it.
EPSTEIN: I don't think there's anyone who would have watched this interview and felt like he was 100 percent truthful.
MCDERMOTT: Talking to Winfrey, Armstrong wouldn't discuss details about Betsy Andreu.
ARMSTRONG: I'm not going to take that on.
MCDERMOTT: Wouldn't tell Winfrey about how the system worked.
ARMSTRONG: We need a long time.
MCDERMOTT: And never talked about how the drug use he long denied was ultimately uncovered.
Next, the story Lance Armstrong wouldn't tell you.
MCDERMOTT: Lance Armstrong entered cycling as a brash young competitor, full of enthusiasm but limited in his all-around ability. His mentor then was the Australian racer Phil Anderson.
Did he strike you in those days as a cyclist who could eventually win the tour de France?
PHIL ANDERSON, AUSTRALIAN RACER: For me, no. To be a good tour rider, you have to be a good fellow and you have to be a good mountain climber. And he wasn't particularly strong in that area. To me, he didn't have what it took in those early years.
MCDERMOTT: Lance Armstrong was then with the American Motorola team. So, too, was New Zealander Stephen Swart. Stephen Swart says that in 1995, when Phil Anderson had left the team, the riders complained that their European opponents were doping.
Did you talk with Lance Armstrong about the need to start using EPO to be competitive?
STEPHEN SWART, FORMER MEMBER, MOTOROLA TEAM: We had the discussion about it, yes.
MCDERMOTT: What did Mr. Armstrong say?
SWART: He did say, you know, if we're going to the tour, we've got to perform. We need the results.
MCDERMOTT: What did that mean?
SWART: I think you didn't have to be a rocket scientist to figure it out, you know. If we were going to be competitive, there was only one road to take.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Was there a discussion about doping in any way with Mr. Swart?
ARMSTRONG: The only aspect that is true is that he was on the team. Beyond that, not true.
MCDERMOTT: The doping allegations arose in a case brought by Lance Armstrong against an insurer based in Dallas, Texas, who provided huge bonuses paid to Armstrong for winning the tour de France in successive years. JEFFREY TILLOTSON, ATTORNEY: UNIDENTIFIED MALE: These are the checks making the first two payments under the contract. These checks represent when he won on the 4th and the 5th making those payments for $1.5 million and then $3 million. Obviously no one ever won six before.
MCDERMOTT: Attorney Jeffrey Tillotson represented the insurer, who refused to pay a further $5 million when Armstrong won his sixth tour de France in 2004.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Obviously, no one would want to guarantee a payment to an event that was fixed or to which someone was cheating because that's a risk no one would take.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. Armstrong, my name is Jeff Tillotson. I --
MCDERMOTT: Jeff Tillotson has done something USADA's been unable to do.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, there is a blessing in our curse I remain the only lawyer to have actually taken sworn testimony from Lance Armstrong and to have had him to deny under oath with the penalty of perjury that he used performance-enhancing drugs.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You understand that although we're in the conference room of your lawyers, you are giving testimony as if you are in a court of law, do you understand that?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And that penalties of perjury attach to this deposition just like they would to a court of law proceeding?
ARMSTRONG: Of course.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Did you, in fact --
MCDERMOTT: These sworn depositions from Lance Armstrong and other key witnesses laid the foundation for later investigations, including USADA's. And as those investigations progressed, the legend of Lance Armstrong began to unravel.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: On the right side of these riders.
MCDERMOTT: Like most riders, Lance Armstrong dreamed of winning the tour de France, cycling's most prestigious race.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Lance Armstrong!
MCDERMOTT: In his first tour, he won a stage. But three years later, it looked like his dream had died. In this film for his cancer charity, Livestrong, Armstrong described what happened.
ARMSTRONG: I had excruciating headaches, blurry vision, coughing up of blood, had been debating on whether or not I should go to the doctor for a long time but finally went. He said, Lance, I hate to tell you this, but you have advanced testicular cancer.
MCDERMOTT: Next, the shattering diagnosis, the epic comeback and the first signs of scandal.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Look how young we all look.
MCDERMOTT: Cycling legend Lance Armstrong had just been diagnosed with cancer. It was October 1996 and his closest friends gathered around. Among them, Betsy Andreu and her fiance, Frankie, who was close to Armstrong and rode with him on his team. Armstrong was due to consult with his doctors. What happen next shocked Betsy Andreu to the core?
BETSY ANDREU: When the doctors came, I suggested we leave to give him his privacy. And he said, that's OK, you can stay. So we stayed. The doctor started asking Lance a couple of questions and then, boom, have you ever used any performance-enhancing drugs. Lance, hanging on to his IV rattled off, EPO, testosterone, cortisone, growth hormone and steroids.
My eyes popped out of my head. And Frankie said, I think we should leave the room and we left the room. And Frankie and I had just been engaged six weeks previously. And I said, that's how he got his cancer. If you are doing that, I am not marrying you. We can stay, we can stay.
MCDERMOTT: Years later, Betsy and Frankie Andreu recalled under oath what had happened.
BETSY ANDREU: The doctor asked him a couple of questions. And then came the question, have you ever taken any performance-enhancing drugs? And Lance said, yes. The doctor said, what were they? And he said, EPO, growth hormone, cortisone, steroids and testosterone.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What is it Mr. Armstrong said in response to the doctor asking him about the use of performance-enhancing drugs?
FRANKIE ANDREU, LANCE ARMSTRONG'S FRIEND: I don't know how the doctor faced the question. But Lance's response was that he had taken EPO and testosterone and growth hormone and cortisone.
MCDERMOTT: Also in the hospital that day was Stephanie McIlvain, who worked as a rep for one of Lance's main sponsors, Oakley.
BETSY ANDREU: After we were deposed the day after Stephanie called sobbing. Stephanie told me that her husband was called into one of the higher-ups of the company where he is vice president of global marketing for Oakley, one of Lance's sponsors, and Stephanie was told, if you make the company look bad, you're going to lose your job. And so we said, that's it. She's going to lie. She's going to lie. She's not going to say it happened.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Were you ever in a hospital room or other part of the hospital with Mr. Armstrong where he said anything about performance-enhancing drugs?
STEPHANIE MCILVAIN, OAKLEY EMPLOYEE: No.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you have any recollection of any doctor in your presence asking Mr. Armstrong if he used in the past any performance-enhancing drugs or substances?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: OK.
MCDERMOTT: Stephanie McIlvain gave her deposition at Oakley's headquarters in California. The year before out of the blue, she'd received a phone call from an American cycling legend.
GREG LEMOND, AMERICAN CYCLING LEGEND: Stephanie?
LEMOND: There is Greg LeMond calling.
MCILVAIN: Greg who?
LEMOND: Greg LeMond.
MCILVAIN: Hi, Greg, how are you?
LEMOND: How are you doing?
MCILVAIN: Doing well.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Greg LeMond, in the leader's yellow jersey -- .
MCDERMOTT: Greg LeMond was a three-time winner of the tour de France who insisted he never took drugs.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Greg LeMond --
MCDERMOTT: LeMond had fallen out with Lance Armstrong whom he suspected of doping. And in 2004, he and Stephanie McIlvain spoke frankly about what occurred in the hospital.
LEMOND: I heard from a source outside of the group here of what happened at the hospital and Betsy and I have talked a little bit. But -- and I'm not asking you to do anything you would never want to do. But, you know, if I did get down to where it was a lawsuit, would you be willing to testify or --
MCILVAIN: If I was subpoenaed, I would.
MCILVAIN: Because I'm not going to lie. You know, I was in that room, I heard it.
MCDERMOTT: What Stephanie McIlvain didn't know was that Greg LeMond was secretly recording their conversation.
TILLOTSON: Lance Armstrong's lawyers immediately backed off this issue and we presented to the panel that Stephanie McIlvain had told two different stories about what happened in the Indiana University hospital room.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And you heard her testimony regarding --
MCDERMOTT: In her last public statement, McIlvain insisted that she had no knowledge of Lance Armstrong ever using performance- enhancing drugs. And Armstrong and his doctors also maintained that he was never asked about them.
Do you deny the statements that Ms. Andreu attributed to you in the Indiana university hospital?
ARMSTRONG: One hundred percent, absolutely.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Did any medical person ask you while you were at the Indiana university hospital whether you had ever used any sort of performance-enhancing drugs or substances?
ARMSTRONG: No, absolutely not.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Can you offer or can you help explain to me why Ms. Andreu would make that story up?
ARMSTRONG: Well, she said in her deposition she hates me.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Is it your testimony that Mr. Andreu was also lying when he said that he heard you say those things regarding your --
ARMSTRONG: One hundred percent. But I feel for her.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What do you mean by that?
ARMSTRONG: Well, I think he's trying to back up his old lady.
MCDERMOTT: How has Lance Armstrong treated you following this incident?
BETSY ANDREU: Oh, what he's -- how he has described me to people he presumed would never meet me is pretty amazing. Think of any derogatory adjective. And you know, basically I'm nuts, just crazy, I'm really jealous, I'm hateful, I'm vindictive, I'm bitter. And so this has been a quest to clear my name because I never, ever, ever lied about anything, ever.
MCDERMOTT: Two days after the Andreus gave their sworn evidence, Indiana University announced an endowment of $1.5 million for a chair in oncology to honor the doctor whose team treated Armstrong for cancer. The endowment was funded by the Lance Armstrong foundation. ARMSTRONG: I just want to be clear. Those are very separate issues. And I'm endowing or funding the chair for somebody who saved my life.
MCDERMOTT: Doping and denial, it would only get worse. Next, the teammate who says he doped by Armstrong's side.
MCDERMOTT: Throughout the 1990s, cyclists and their teams worked hard to cover up the increasing use of performance-enhancing drugs. Their job was made easier by the fact that the drug of choice in the peloton at the time, the blood booster EPO was undetectable. So popular was EPO that the peloton invented a term for riders who didn't use it.
TYLER HAMILTON, FORMER CYCLIST: The translation was running on bread and water. The Italian term is (SPEAKING FOREIGN LANGUAGE). So, I was, yes, I guess, for the first few months of the '97season, I was riding on (INAUDIBLE), bread and water.
MCDERMOTT: Like many top races, Tyler Hamilton started out as a drug-free rider. But when he joined the U.S. postal service team, he saw veteran riders getting preferential treatment. They would be giving white lunch bags between races. He wanted his lunch bag, too.
HAMILTON: The doctor at U.S. postal service said that I had enormous potential. So basically eventually when I was given my first white lunch bag, it was a sign to me that they believe in me, they believe in my potential and they believe in me -- my long-term talent.
MCDERMOTT: The lunch bags contained the banned drug EPO, designed to raise a cyclist's Hematocrit levels.
HAMILTON: Hematocrit is a percentage of red blood cells in your body. The red blood cells carry oxygen to your muscles. So basically, the higher your red blood cell percentage, the better your muscles are going to operate under stress. So in laymen's terms, the more red blood cells you have, the faster you're going to ride a bike.
MCDERMOTT: So, what was the doctor's solution to raising these levels?
HAMILTON: Yes. A couple of months before, maybe a month and a half before my first tour de France, it was EPO.
MCDERMOTT: Under UCI rules at the time, riders were allowed a Hematocrit level of 50 percent but no higher. Tyler Hamilton says doctors would tell riders what their glow time was with different drugs.
HAMILTON: You were given the limits on what product would -- how long you would glow for, how long you'd test positive for. So, as long as you played by what the team doctors told you, it was more or less pretty -- at the time it was pretty easy to pass these tests. And then, I passed a couple of hundred doping controls myself. MCDERMOTT: When Lance Armstrong joined the U.S. postal service team in 1998 following his recovery from cancer, he shared a room with Tyler Hamilton.
Did you both talk about drugs together?
HAMILTON: We did. We did. Didn't -- it wasn't every conversation was about drugs. But yes, we talked about it behind closed doors, absolutely, absolutely. '98, I was pretty green so I asked a lot of questions. And I learned a lot.
MCDERMOTT: So he was quite open with you?
Tyler Hamilton says Lance Armstrong was surprisingly relaxed about where he kept his EPO.
HAMILTON: When I was at his house in Nice, France, I asked him for some. And he kindly said, yes, no problem. And it was just on the inside door of his refrigerator, just in the box that it came in. I was surprised that it was right there, kind of out in the open.
MCDERMOTT: French police began investigations after banned drugs, including steroids, were found in one of the team cars on July 8th. This team is Doctor Eric Rycon (ph) who was questioned and later charged under France's anti-drugs act.
As the 1998 tour de France got under way, the lid was blown off systematic doping in the Peloton.
DICK POUND, FORMER PRESIDENT, ANTI-DOPING AGENCY: It was pretty clear it was a major problem. French police are arresting team members or followers with industrial quantities of doping substances and equipment.
MCDERMOTT: The following year, the tour de France was billed as the tour of renewal. Teams were terrified of being raided. But Lance Armstrong came prepared with a delivery man in tow called Moto man.
HAMILTON: Moto man was this gardener/handy man for Lance Armstrong and the team ousted didn't care performance enhancing drugs. So, to get EPO for the tour de France, we came up with a plan. And the plan had Moto man involved where he would follow the race, always stayed within probably a half hour drive of our motorcycle drive from our hotel. He basically had the container filled with EPO. And he would basically just wait for a phone call on a secret phone. When he had to do a delivery, he would do a delivery.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Armstrong coming up now. Can he get off to a great start in the tour de France? He is aiming at 8:09. 8:02.51. Lance Armstrong with that performance --
MCDERMOTT: This is where the legend began. On the very first day of his comeback tour de France, Lance Armstrong won the prologue.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Lance Armstrong has delivered a great blow -- MCDERMOTT: Three weeks later, less than three years after being diagnosed with cancer, he won his first tour de France. It would be the first of seven. Armstrong was now a legend in his sport, a sport tainted at the highest level.
Next, doctors, coaches and cover-up.
MCDERMOTT: Lance Armstrong was charging to victory in the tour de France, cycling's biggest race. But, says Tyler Hamilton, not without help.
Hamilton says that after finishing a stage, he, Armstrong and their teammate Kevin Livingston would inject themselves with EPO in the team's camper, just meters from the excited fans outside.
HAMILTON: That was nerve-racking because you're right there in the heart of the tour de France, thousands and thousands of people around your -- hovering around the team camper. And we had this performance-enhancing drug. So, I remember trying to get rid of it as quickly as possible because there was one for Lance, one for Kevin and one for myself. And you quickly just suck it in, got rid of it. It was quickly hidden away, typically in like a coke can, all three vials would go into a coke can. We would crush it, give to it a team doctor to dispose.
MCDERMOTT: But it didn't all go to plan. Lance Armstrong was tested for drugs during the tour. And one of his samples revealed a significant level of a banned corticosteroid.
Emma O'Reilly was a swan here on the team whose duties included giving Armstrong a massage after his ride. During one of his massages, she says, an urgent discussion took place between Armstrong and the team's management.
EMMA O'REILLY, LANCE ARMSTRONG'S MASSAGER: The conversation that was occurring was, what are we going to do, here's the problem, we need a solution and how do we act upon the solution and are we happy with the solution? So it was -- the problem was Lance had tested high in the cortisone. The solution was potential bad prescription. What are these prescriptions for? Why would he taking this? Are we all happy with that? Yes, we're happy with this. Like let's go down and speak to Luis, who is the team doctor, and get him to write a prescription.
MCDERMOTT: Dr. Luis Del Morale has now being issued with a lifetime sporting ban by the U.S. anti-doping agency, USADA.
Emma O'Reilly says the doctor issued a prescription to Armstrong for a cortisone cream for saddle sores and backdated it.
Had he complained to you about saddle sores?
O'REILLY: No, no, no. It wasn't about saddle sores. The whole thing was just a back-dated prescription to help kind of explain his elevated cortisone level in the test of the prologue.
MCDERMOTT: Of course, if he had been prescribed this cream, then it should have been listed as a -- on the therapeutics entrance exam --
O'REILLY: Absolutely, yes. Yes. And it wasn't because he wasn't taking the cream. You know, it was just purely back-dated to cover up that cortisone elevation, yes. The back-dated prescription was rigged to suit the test.
MCDERMOTT: When she was subpoenaed to give sworn evidence, Emma O'Reilly insisted that her memory was clear.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Is there any doubt in your mind as to what happened in what you heard?
O'REILLY: None whatsoever, at all. I can still to this day picture the whole scene vividly.
TILLOTSON: She was labeled a traitor by Lance Armstrong. She was told she'd never work in the business again by the Armstrong group. We found her to be extremely credible on the issues on the things in which she said she'd seen and done.
MCDERMOTT: Lance Armstrong escaped being sanctioned for having a banned corticosteroid in his system. In 2000, a test was introduced for EPO. Tyler Hamilton says that he and Lance Armstrong continued to dope using micro doses of EPO which would pass through the body more rapidly in an undetectable type of doping, blood transfusions.
Under this procedure, blood would be taken from a cyclist, stored in a refrigerator and then re-infused at a later date, boosting the cyclist's red blood cells.
HAMILTON: Seemed kind of sort of caveman-like, you know, taking out your own blood, not seeing it for three or four weeks. And then getting it back in, re-infusing it back in.
MCDERMOTT: Who was organizing all of that?
HAMILTON: Lance and the doctor, Dr. Del morale.
MCDERMOTT: Johan Bruyneel, once director of the U.S. postal service team had said he will fight the doping charges that an arbitration hearing with USADA. Neither Bruyneel nor Dr. Luis Del Morale have ever been charged with a crime. Both deny the allegations, though Tyler Hamilton tells a very different story.
He says that after stage 11 of the 2000 tour de France, he, Lance Armstrong and Kevin Livingston had their blood re-infused. Everything was handled by the team's management.
HAMILTON: We were in this small hotel. It was pretty wild. I arrived in my room and the staff had sort of prepared everything, the doctors. And there was a blood bag taped up on the wall, hanging from the wall. A red tube coming down -- a tube filled with blood coming down. And basically he injected me here. I have pretty small veins, so the one place that always worked was right there. You can see the scars today.
MCDERMOTT: Tyler Hamilton says the three riders lay on beds in adjoining rooms with an open door between them.
Could you see Lance Armstrong?
HAMILTON: Yes, yes. Yes, I saw him. I saw his bag of blood, saw it in his arm, yes.
MCDERMOTT: They were taking a huge gamble.
HAMILTON: I'm glad we didn't get caught. I would have been -- we all would have been serious stuff. And like now looking back, oh, my God, what was I doing? But you're so deep into it, you know, you don't even have time to take a half step back and look at the big picture.
MCDERMOTT: In 2005, Lance Armstrong denied under oath ever having received a blood transfusion.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You've never used your own blood for doping purposes, for example?
ARMSTRONG: Absolutely -- that would be banned.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: OK. Not trying to agitate you. Just trying to make sure your testimony is clear, OK?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: All right.
DOCTOR MICHAEL ASHENDEN, SCIENCE AND INDUSTRY AGAINST BLOOD DOPING: The whole point of blood doping is to increase the number of red cells in your circulation. The blood transfusions have the advantage of not being detectable, even today. We don't have a foolproof method of establishing when an athlete that has re-infused their own blood.
MCDERMOTT: So does that mean that athletes now and cyclists now are transfusing their own blood back into themselves?
ASHENDEN: There's no doubt, there's no doubt that's happening.
MCDERMOTT: Next, a new test for doping exposes Armstrong's old secrets.
MCDERMOTT: In 2005, Lance Armstrong won an unprecedented seventh straight victory in the tour de France, then left the stage to huge acclaim. But a month later, the EPO which Moto man has delivered during his first tour victory came back to haunt him. In a sensational scoop in the French newspaper, "L'Equipe," Lance Armstrong was accused of lying about performance-enhancing drugs.
In French, this means, yes, he's a liar, that all his story is a lie, all his story.
An investigative journalist for the newspaper wrote a story claiming the newspaper had proof that Lance Armstrong took EPO during the 1999 tour de France.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through text): His victory and I'm very clear on this was "dirty." By this, I mean, that here at "L'Equipe," we established that he won the 19999 Tour de France using EPO. That's indisputable. It's been scientifically proven. He didn't want to discuss it when o wrote the story and when I published m investigation, there was no legal action, no legal action. We know that Mr. Armstrong always has 20 lawyers around him, but they didn't try to sue "L'Equipe or me. You know, we used deep, almost hit be the (INAUDIBLE) , only thing he said was lead nation
MCDERMOTT: But the stronger scientific evidence that he was doping comes from this highly specialized French laboratory. Testers here found clear evidence of EPO in samples which were later identified as Lance Armstrong's.
During the '99 tour which Armstrong won, urine samples from the riders were sent to this lab on the outskirts of Paris to be tested. So what is this room?
This room is room. In this room, where we perform the anti-doping analysis for refill.
But the time to test for detection of EPO was still not ready.
FRANCOISE LASHE, NATIONAL ANTI-DOPING AGENCY FINANCE: Today's for detection of EPO was developed in this laboratory. So, I personally performed the development of (INAUDIBLE). And it took a very long time. It took about six years to give up this base. And it was ready in 2000.
MCDERMOTT: Four years later, as part of the lab's research but not as part of a formal testing process, the 1999 samples were re- examined. And some were found to contain the banned drug. Six samples given by Lance Armstrong were found to contain EPO.
Why was he then it only revealed years later that these samples belonged to Lance Armstrong?
ASHENDEN: It was only a coincidence of events. A journalist requested from the cycling governing body, the UCI, to have access to some of Lance Armstrong's doping control forms. The UCI voluntarily gave all of Armstrong's forms from that race to the journalist who then cross-matched the lab numbers that were on those forms with the samples that had been analyzed quite separately by the laboratory. And he was the one that matched the lab numbers to the samples that contained EPO. The lines here are delineation between -- Mike Washington is a former independent expert for the UCI who helped develop a blood test for EPO for the Sydney Olympics. Which of these examples belongs to Lance Armstrong?
MIKE WASHINGTON, FORMER INDEPENDENT EXPERT FOR THE UCI: If we go to the doping form, we see to 297. And we, that for that sample, there was 100 percent bicycle lessons forms, which tells us the system was flooded with synthetic EPO when that sample was provided.
MCDERMOTT: So, at what stage in the tour was that taken?
WASHINGTON: That was the prologue. That was the first day of the '99 tour.
MCDERMOTT: Is there any doubt in your mind that the positive results for EPO were scientifically correct?
Yes, they are scientifically correct.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you know whether or not the samples --
MCDERMOTT: Under oath in 2005, Lance Armstrong insisted it wasn't true.
ARMSTRONG: I can only believe that they either are not mine or have been manipulated because when I pissed in the bottle as I told you earlier, having never taken performance-enhancing drugs in the past, there was not EPO in that blood or piss.
MCDERMOTT: "L'Equipe's" investigation revealed that six of Lance Armstrong's blood samples from the 1999 Tour de France contained EPO. But cycling's governing body, the UCI, took no action against Armstrong.
ASHENDEN: Rather than open their doors and say, let's try and understand what's going on here inside of our sport, they instead, as far as I could work out, tried to shut the case down.
MCDERMOTT: Should the UCI have acted on those results?
POUND: In my view? Of course they should have. They had the power to say, all right, you doped, you're out.
MCDERMOTT: On one other occasion, the UCI chose not to act. In 2001, Tyler Hamilton alleges Lance Armstrong tested positive for EPO.
HAMILTON: Luckily, we had the right people on our side.
MCDERMOTT: The test occurred during that year's tour of Switzerland. Tyler Hamilton says Lance Armstrong's adviser on doping, the Italian Dr. McKelly (ph) Ferrari, told Armstrong to take micro doses of EPO to ensure he didn't test positive.
USADA says that in all, Lance Armstrong paid Dr. Ferrari more than $1 million for his doping advice. But on this occasion, it went wrong. HAMILTON: He told me he had a positive test for EPO, which was very surprising because it seemed like it was foolproof.
ASHENDEN: My understanding is that a sample had been provided and analyzed by the laboratory and they had found that there was evidence of synthetic EPO in that sample.
MCDERMOTT: While Ferrari denies all allegations against him, he has been banned for life by USADA. The UCI and Lance Armstrong say Tyler Hamilton's claims about the 2001 test result are completely unfounded.
Lance Armstrong is not alone among drug cheats. Since 1998, more than a third of the top ten finishers in the tour de France have been linked to doping. But it wasn't until October 2012 that cycling's governing body, the UCI, took action against Armstrong, stripping him of his seven Tour de France titles.
For years, Lance Armstrong's position was absolutely clear --
ARMSTRONG: How could it have taken place --
MCDERMOTT: In 2005, his denials were passionate.
ARMSTRONG: How many times do I have to say it?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Just trying to make sure your testimony is clear.
Well, if it can't be any clearer that I've never taken drugs, then incidents like that could never have happened.
MCDERMOTT: OK. How clear is that?
Despite his countless denials, by 2012, the pressure was inescapable and the evidence overwhelming. Lance Armstrong was stripped of his titles, high-profile sponsorships and much of his prize money. He stepped away from his charity, Livestrong.
In 2005, with uncanny foresight, Armstrong had predicted what doping could do to his legend and his legacy.
ARMSTRONG: If you have a doping offense or you test positive, it goes without saying that you're fired from all of your contracts, not just the team, not just the team. But there's numerous contracts that I have that would all go away.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Sponsorship agreements, for example?
ARMSTRONG: All of them. And the faith of all the cancer survivors -- everything I do off of the bike would go away, too. And don't think for a second I don't understand that. It's not about money for me. Everything. It's also about the faith that people have put in me over the years. All of that would be erased. I don't need it to say in a contract, you're fired if you test positive. That's not as important as losing the support of hundreds of millions of people.
MCDERMOTT: Now millions have seen him confess to doping and seen him damage the sport he says he loved. Only time will tell whether that will be enough to revive his image and restore the faith of his followers.