Lance Armstrong has revealed what he regrets most during a career spent rebuffing accusations of doping.

After years of denying taking performance drugs, in 2013 the disgraced cyclist finally admitted to taking banned substances that helped him win seven Tour de France titles, which he was later stripped of.

While he knows he did the wrong thing by doping, Armstrong says he's much more ashamed of his defensive behaviour rather than his blatant rule breaking. Speaking to American TV and radio personality Howard Stern, the 45-year-old revealed he most regrets how poorly he treated people who questioned his integrity even though he knew they were right to do so.

"The decisions I made when we were at war, quote unquote, that is a different thing," Armstrong said in relation to taking EPO.


"But the way I acted, the vehement denials and the way I went about defending myself ... the ultimate Lance Armstrong torture is put him in front of a laptop, pull up Youtube and make him watch some of those press conferences (such as the one at the bottom of this article).

"Just such a d***. The way I acted was by far the worst part."

Many long suspected Armstrong of cheating well before he admitted to it. But time and time again he would angrily deny such claims, trying to maintain his image as the cleanskin who made a triumphant return to professional sport after beating cancer.

But now his reputation is tarnished forever, and he accepts he deserves it.

"We live in an age where people don't have to come up to your face to criticise you," Armstrong said. "No one has ever come up to my face in the last five years and done that.

"But to people who do it on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter, you know what I say? I understand.

"I can't change it. All I can do is walk this walk I'm on. If I'm at an airport, a bike race, if people criticise me, I'd say I totally understand. I'm sorry."

Speaking to Stern, the American said "nearly everyone made the choice (to dope)" because "the culture of the sport was so crazy", but maintained he wasn't making excuses for his actions. He also acknowledged the awkward nature of his relationship with his kids as a result of his cheating.

"I tell a story of my son Max when he was having a conversation with his mother," Armstrong said. "The subject came up and he was talking with his mother and she was saying that I was a great professional cyclist.

"He and I are best friends and he loves me to death. His response was, 'Yes but he cheated.' My son said that to his mother.

"When they grow up, they will watch a documentary, they will watch something on YouTube. That will come up."