Lance Armstrong feels he was 'singled out' by USADA

By Evan Hilbert | CBSSports.com

Lance Armstrong is now claiming he was singled out by anti-doping agency.
Lance Armstrong is now claiming he was singled out by anti-doping agency. (Getty Images)

Clearly, Lance Armstrong is not planning to recede quietly into the night.

Despite being stripped of his seven Tour de France titles after (finally) admitting to doping, Armstrong is still on the defensive, most recently claiming that he was targeted by the United States anti-Doping Agency.

"This is a story because I was a bigger asshole," Armstrong told ESPN.com Thursday. "Because I was more litigious. Because I was more combative. ... And I've heard from a lot of people who say, 'You made all the money, you got all the fame, you deserve this.' And I hear that, and I understand that people think that way. But it's not consistent with what USADA has said."

Armstrong, who has repeatedly pointed the finger elsewhere for his own transgressions, went on to say that he did not cheat his competitors; rather, they, too, were doping.

"If we're going to be honest, then just say, 'He's an asshole. We had to go after him. He tested positive for being the biggest asshole in the world.' Fair. I can live with that," Armstrong told ESPN. "To say that he cheated his competitors? Ask them! Ask my competitors."

Beyond ordinary doping penalties, a report in the New York Post Friday suggested that Armstrong even bribed other riders.

An Italian rider, Roberto Gaggioli, claims that Armstrong gave him $100K in a cake box to throw a 1993 race in Pittsburgh.

“It was a young American colleague,” Roberto Gaggioli said, according to the paper. ”He offered me a panettone [a traditional Italian Christmas cake] as a present and wished me a merry Christmas. In the box there were $100,000 in small bills. That colleague was Lance Armstrong.

“Two laps from the end, I was in a breakaway with Lance, Bobby Julich and some Italian riders from the Mercatone team. When Lance made a sign, I turned away as if not to see that he had escaped. He broke away to win on his own.”

That information hit papers Friday, and Armstrong has yet to respond to the allegation.

With regards to the doping scandal, however, Armstrong has refused to show even a hint of self-awareness, suggesting that he was singled out by the USADA because he fought back against the charges that he had used performance-enhancing drugs -- a charge to which he eventually admitted.

"Do I think I made a lot of mistakes? I know I did," Armstrong said. "Do I think I was way too adamant and forceful in the denials? Absolutely. Was I way too aggressive when it came to getting in people's faces or contesting their versions of events? Yes.

"But at the same time, was I singled out? Yes. Only time will tell which aspects of this have been fair and honest. For the first time in my life, I've just got to have real patience, which is not my virtue."

That's not the only virtue of which he's devoid.

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