Disbelief, anger following Armstrong’s doping admission

Montreal athletes react to Lance Armstrong's interview with Oprah Winfrey and his admission that he doped throughout his career.
Lance Armstrong spoke to Oprah Winfrey about the controversy surrounding his cycling career. (George Burns/Oprah Winfrey Network via Getty Images)

Athletes in Montreal are expressing anger and disbelief following former cycling champion Lance Armstrong's admission he used performance-enhancing drugs.

In the first of a two-part interview with Oprah Winfrey which aired last night, Armstrong admitted he had doped throughout his career.

Christiane Ayotte, the director of the Institut national de la recherche scientifique doping control laboratory in Laval, was not at all surprised by the admission.

"What we saw yesterday was a carefully-planned and crafted operation which was worked out very carefully with communication experts," she told CBC Montreal's Daybreak.

"He carefully avoided giving to the [United States] Anti-Doping Agency the information that they want on this ring of doping... He didn’t say a word of what we already didn’t know."

Caroline Ouellette, a forward for the Montreal Stars hockey team and a three-time Olympic gold medallist, has been a huge fan of Armstrong since she was young. She read all of his books and followed his storied career. But as she watched the interview last night, she says her her admiration for the cyclist crumbled.

She said she fears the legitimacy of athletes in other sports could be called into question due to Armstrong’s admission.

"People are always wondering, ‘are they clean? Are they winning clean?’ As a matter of fact, we’ll never know in many cases."  

When asked if he felt he had cheated, Armstrong said that since the majority of cyclists doped, he felt he was on an even playing field.

Retired cyclist and three-time Canadian National Road Race champion Gervais Rioux was unimpressed with that response.

"That’s what they all say, the guys who cheat," he said.

"What happened with the guys who tried to do it in a clean way? It’s like they are losers. This is very frustrating for all the people who tried to do it in the correct way in any sport."

For her part, Ouellette was angry with Armstrong’s lack of remorse.

"He’s normalizing the fact that he took drugs most of his career to win. I feel no sense of empathy for him," she said.

"For me, he’s the biggest cheat in history and he doesn’t even feel bad about it."