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Armstrong’s admissions to Oprah Winfrey are more confirmation than confession.

Alarm bells about his use of illegal drugs and treatments have been ringing for years but the disgraced rider bullied and harassed those who tried to blow the whistle.

Armstrong sued his former masseuse Emma O’Reilly after she spoke out about his cheating.

The Sunday Times newspaper in London paid out 1.5 million euros in a settlement with Armstrong after publishing its doping investigations. The reporter David Walsh said the paper now wants its money back.

So does the promotions company SCA that paid him nine million euros in bonuses for winning the Tour de France.

The sport’s governing body is having to face some tough questions too. The UCI has already been accused of not doing enough to control doping.

Since taking over the running of the Tour de France in 2005, Christian Prudhomme has maintained a tough stance on drugs.

“It is better than a few years ago, this belongs to the past,” he said. “Armstrong belongs to the past. Of course we need him to accept his punishment, but cycling has already changed. Today people are talking about ‘photographs’ of the past, what we see now is almost a sepia image.”

The public disgust is rooted not only in the fact that they believed Armstrong had conquered the mighty Tour de France an astonishing seven times, but that he had done so after recovering from cancer.

Recovery from this scandal, though, appears to be an impossible task.

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