Local man who trained with Lance Armstrong says cyclist is remorseful

Armstrong admits to doping in interview with Oprah

SAN DIEGO - A San Diego man who recently spent a week training with cyclist Lance Armstrong is giving new insight into Armstrong's decision to admit to doping.

In a Jan. 5 tweet, Armstrong wrote, "Great ride out to (Hawaii) with my buddy Mitch Hall."

San Diegan Mitch Hall, former race director for the Superfrog Triathlon in Coronado, got to know Armstrong after inviting him to the triathlon in September.

When Hall was in Hawaii for a vacation, he looked Armstrong up, and the two ended up training together for a week. During that time, Armstrong was wrestling with his decision to come clean.

"It was interesting to spend some time with him and hear his side of the story," said Hall.

Hall plans to keep most of his conversations private, but said Armstrong expressed genuine regret about doping during his career.

"He was contrite," said Hall.

Armstrong was slapped with a lifetime sports ban by the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency.

Hall said Armstrong believes he is paying the price for a doping era that began in the 1980s.

"I think his stance is those were the rules then and most riders played by those rules - unfortunately … I think he think he's paying for three generations of cycling and that's a little unfair," said Hall.

Hall, a competitive cyclist and former Navy SEAL, said learning of the doping was deflating.              

"Of course it's disappointing. We all wanted to believe him, it was such an incredible story," said Hall.

Hall said he believes Armstrong should be stripped of his titles and medals because a clean sport is critical.

As for Armstrong's motivation, many say the only reason he's admitting is so he can compete again.       

"I think there's a portion of this aimed at towing a starting line again, but that's not all of it," said Hall.

Hall believes Armstrong is also focused on doing what's right for the sport.

Hall points out whatever Armstrong admits to, his large impact on cancer research and interest in cycling can't be denied.

"Whether it was based on a lie, to some point it doesn't matter, because we're all out there riding bikes," said Hall.

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