Lance Armstrong still sees himself as a seven-time Tour de France winner, he told Dan Patrick in an interview aired Thursday.
“I don’t like arguing and fighting about it, but you asked me if I feel that way, I say yes, but I also know very well that there are many, many people that don’t agree with that. I respect that, I understand that.”
Armstrong, who was stripped of his record seven Tour de France titles in 2012 and confessed to doping throughout his career, also said he doesn’t wear a Livestrong bracelet anymore.
He said for the first time in his life he’s “truly fearless.”
“Obviously, I was beholden to a very dark secret that just sucked,” Armstrong said. “There was a lot of pressure there that I don’t have anymore. The slate is clean, and I can kind of do whatever I want going forward.”
Armstrong also sympathized with fellow performance-enhancing drug user Mark McGwire in a wide-ranging interview.
“Let’s not forget, he helped save that game after all of the drama of the strike and low attendance,” Armstrong said. “We’d be hypocrites to say they didn’t help save the game.”
Armstrong was asked what the reaction would be if he walked on the Champs-Elysees in Paris wearing a yellow jersey.
“I don’t think I want to do that,” Armstrong said.
Armstrong said he followed this year’s Tour de France, won by Italian Vincenzo Nibali, loosely when he wasn’t mountain biking in Aspen, Colo.
He also declined to say if he was a greater cyclist than three-time Tour winner Greg LeMond, with whom he has an icy relationship.
Armstrong did share a story of a cab ride in central Paris about nine months ago, and was asked how he would fare in the Tour if, hypothetically, he trained for it now and entered in 2015.
“Not very well,” said Armstrong, who has been banned for life. “At 43, 44 years old, I could finish, but I’d get spanked.”