LONDON (Reuters) – Lance Armstrong is living an unbothered and positive life 18 months after confessing to using performance-enhancing drugs, the disgraced cyclist told CNN.
A cancer survivor and hero to millions, Armstrong was stripped of his seven Tour de France victories and banned for life from racing in 2012 by the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency after it accused him in a report of engineering one of the most sophisticated doping schemes in sports.
The investigation and later admission to doping destroyed Armstrong’s reputation and career but the 42-year-old American says he has been able to go about his daily life without being taunted or heckled for what he did.
“I never get crap, not once, and I’m surprised by that,” Armstrong told CNN on Tuesday.
“Sure, I sometimes get the vibe that someone wants to say something but it’s never happened.”
While day-to-day life is good for Armstrong, the cyclist’s problems are far from over as he and his team of lawyers prepare to face several civil lawsuits that could drain the fortune he accumulated as one of the world’s most popular and successful athletes.
In June a federal judge rejected Armstrong’s bid to dismiss a whistleblower lawsuit claiming that he and his former cycling team, which the U.S. Postal Service had sponsored, defrauded the government in a scheme to use banned, performance-enhancing drugs.
A still defiant Armstrong, however, claims the U.S. Postal Service benefited hugely from the exposure it got from its sponsorship and that the lawsuit had been brought too late.
“I’m very confident that that’s a winner for us,” said Armstrong. “I don’t think anyone can truly argue the U.S. Postal Service was damaged.
“They made a lot of money in the deal and got what they bargained for.
“I worked my ass off for them and I’m proud of it. Furthermore there wasn’t a technical relationship
between myself and the U.S. Postal Service.”
(Reporting by Steve Keating in Toronto, editing by Pritha Sarkar)