Oct 20 2012
Lance Armstrong admitted he had experienced "a difficult couple of weeks" as he made his first public appearance since the publication of the scathing United States Anti-Doping Agency's report.
USADA last week published a 1,000-page report which concluded the Texan and his United States Postal Service team ran "the most sophisticated, professionalised and successful doping programme that sport has ever seen". Armstrong announced he would not contest charges handed down by USADA in August.
Appearing at the 15th anniversary celebration of his charity Livestrong, Armstrong addressed a crowd of 1,700, saying: "I am truly humbled by your support. It's been an interesting couple of weeks. It's been a difficult couple of weeks for me and my family, my friends and this foundation."
On many occasions he had been asked how he was faring and he repeated his response.
"I say, 'I've been better, but I've also been worse'."
USADA have stripped the 41-year-old of all results since August 1, 1998, including his record run of seven Tour de France triumphs from 1999 to 2005, and banned him for life.
USADA sent the UCI its reasoned decision last week and published an abbreviated 200-page version on its website, revealing the scale of the use of performance-enhancing drugs. Much of the detail came from testimony of 11 of Armstrong's former team-mates, who were given six-month bans. On Monday the UCI will react to the report.
Armstrong's appearance at the gala comes in the same week he was dropped by sponsors Nike, Anheuser-Busch, brewers of Budweiser, and Trek bikes.
Oakley, another of Armstrong's long-time commercial partners, are considering their position while Rabobank announced on Friday they would no longer sponsor cycling after 17 years in the sport.
On the same day he was dropped by the trio, he stepped down as chairman of Livestrong so the continuing fall-out does not affect the charity he set up in 1997 although he remains on the board of directors.