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Mike Lupica: Armstrong part of a 'giant athletic Ponzi scheme'

Jan. 15, 2013 at 7:53 AM ET

Amid the news that Lance Armstrong confessed to using performance-enhancing drugs in a taped interview with Oprah Winfrey on Monday, New York Daily News columnist Mike Lupica said the admission doesn't erase the damage Armstrong has done. 

"People just fell in love with the legend,'' Lupica told Matt Lauer on TODAY Tuesday. "They liked that story better than the reality. Most reasonable people feel like this is an announcement that the ocean is deep.'' 

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Armstrong was banned for life from cycling and stripped of his seven Tour de France titles by the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency in August after an exhaustive report detailing his use of performance-enhancing drugs. Armstrong had denied using drugs for years and had vigorously attacked former teammates in the media who accused him of cheating. 

"I believe that he's completely insincere except for this,'' Lupica said. "He is starting to repair his own brand. People have overlooked the real story here — the lives that had to be destroyed to keep the lie going. To me this is like some giant, athletic Ponzi scheme that went on and on and built and built.'' 

The interview with Winfrey came just hours after the cancer survivor apologized to members of his Livestrong charity, which raises money for the fight against cancer. Lupica believes the Winfrey interview is more about public relations than sincerity. 

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"He will go to them and apologize because Lance once again thinks he is in control of this narrative,'' Lupica said. "It's not like he's going to reveal any secrets here. As the lie built and built and built, people were unable to look at what a bully this guy was. This is about a gigantic lie that went on for 15 years.'' 

Despite the fact that numerous other cyclists were busted for performance-enhancing drugs during Armstrong's dominance in the Tour de France, he insisted he was always clean among a group of dirty riders. 

"The worldwide lie on Lance Armstrong was 'I'm clean and everyone else was dirty,' so in all ways, how does he put that back in the bottle now?'' Lupica said "He reminds me of one of those mob rats. Lance 'The Bull' Armstrong.'' 

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