Lance Armstrong reveals he first doped aged 21 in new documentary

The disgraced Tour de France winner claimed he’s ‘not going to lie to you now’ in new film

(Image credit: AFP via Getty Images)

Lance Armstrong has revealed he first doped aged 21.

The American former professional, who is banned from the sport for life for doping, has revealed more details of his cheating in a two-part ESPN documentary, which will be available online later this month.

Armstrong, a seven-time Tour de France winner before he was stripped of all his yellow jerseys, has claimed “I’m not going to lie to you now” in the four-hour long film.

When asked how old he was the first time he doped Armstrong, who retired from racing in 2011, said: “Wow straight into that. I was probably 21.”

Armstrong says he started taking cortisones during his first professional season, 1992, the year before he won the World Championships.

But the Texan also reflected on the transition from what he calls “low-octane doping” to the use of the blood booster EPO.

He added: “We had already been dabbling in low octane cortisone, or whatever was around, but EPO was a whole other level. The performance benefits were so great that the sport went from low-octane doping, which always existed, to this high-octane rocket fuel. That was the decision we had to make.”

Armstrong said he then met and began working with Dr Michele Ferrari in the winter of 1995. He went on to win his first Tour de France in 1999 after recovering from testicular cancer.

But in 2012 he was stripped of all his Tour titles after a US Anti-Doping Agency investigation revealed the extent of his cheating.

The full documentary will be released on ESPN Player, with part one available from Monday, May 25 while part two will be released from June 1. The programme centres around extensive interviews with Armstrong, a number of former team-mates, including George Hincapie, as well as friends, rivals and journalists.

In the trailer, Armstrong is asked what the worst thing he’s ever done is, to which he replies: “Everybody in the world needs to get this question”.

Alex Ballinger
Alex Ballinger

Alex is the digital news editor for After gaining experience in local newsrooms, national newspapers and in digital journalism, Alex found his calling in cycling, first as a reporter and now as news editor responsible for Cycling Weekly's online news output.

Since pro cycling first captured his heart during the 2010 Tour de France (specifically the Contador-Schleck battle) and joining CW in 2018, Alex has covered three Tours de France, multiple editions of the Tour of Britain, and the World Championships, while both writing and video presenting for Cycling Weekly. He also specialises in fitness writing, often throwing himself into the deep end to help readers improve their own power numbers. 

Away from journalism, Alex is a national level time triallist, avid gamer, and can usually be found buried in an eclectic selection of books.