When did Lance Armstrong start doping?

Lance Armstrong
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Lance Armstrong said he first doped at “probably 21” years old, according to ESPN.

ESPN published a teaser video for its upcoming two-part Armstrong film that premieres Sunday night. The clip aims to show Armstrong and U.S. Postal Service teammates Tyler HamiltonGeorge HincapieJonathan Vaughters and David Zabriskie being asked the first time they doped.

Armstrong saying “probably 21” was mixed into the clip after he was asked the question and then after Hincapie and Zabriskie were asked, but the video’s message is clear that Armstrong’s answer was to that specific question.

“There’s a bunch of ways to define doping,” Armstrong later said. “The easiest way to define it is breaking the rules. Were we getting injections of vitamins and other things like that at an earlier age? Yes, but they weren’t illegal. … I always asked [what I was being given]. I always knew, and I always made the decision on my own. Nobody said, ‘Don’t ask, this is what you’re getting.’ I never, ever would have gone for that. I educated myself on what was being given, and I chose to do it.”

In 2012, Armstong was stripped of his record seven Tour de France titles from 1999-2005 for doping during that stretch. He was also stripped of a 2000 Olympic time trial bronze medal. All of his results from Aug. 1, 1998 forward were annulled.

USADA said numerous witnesses provided evidence that Armstrong doped going back to at least 1996.

In 2016, Armstrong told a University of Colorado class that he and his then-team Motorola started a program in late spring 1995.

If Armstrong began doping at age 21, it would have been in 1992 (at least a month after his Olympic debut) or 1993, possibly before he won the 1993 World Championships road race (which he has not been stripped of).

Armstrong also competed in the 1996 Olympics, two months before his cancer diagnosis. His Olympic results from 1992 and 1996 have not been disqualified, though he earned no medals.

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