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Lance Armstrong has spoken of how easy it was to use EPO and still pass drug tests without using masking agents (Marc Pagani Photography)

Lance Armstrong believes using blood-boosting EPO gave him a performance gain of about 10 per cent, claiming the drug was the “rocket fuel” that changed cycling and every other endurance sport.

The American, who took the final yellow jersey in seven Tours de France but was later stripped of those wins, added it was easy to use the drug and still pass doping tests, even without using masking agents.

In a lengthy interview in the US with politico-comedian Bill Maher, he also said if taking the cocktail of drugs that “thousands” of riders of his generation did was harmful to their health, the world would know about it by now because so much time had passed.

“What I always said, was ‘I’ve been tested 500 times, I’ve never failed a drug test’. That’s not a lie, that is the truth. There was no way around the test, when I pissed in the cup, and they tested the piss in the cup, it passed.

“Now the reality, the truth of all of this, is some of these substances primarily, the one that is the most beneficial, has a four-hour half life. So certain substances, whether it be cannabis or anabolics or whatever, have much longer half-lives, right.

“With EPO, which was the rocket fuel that changed, not just ours for but every endurance sport; you have a four-hour half life so it leaves the body very quickly.

“And with a four-hour half-life, you can just do the math,” he said, implying taking the drug within certain windows, when testing was highly unlikely, was the key to going undetected.

“The truth is, you had a drug that was undetectable, that was wildly beneficial to performance and recovery, both are important but primarily to performance… your top end, when it’s time to race, I mean 10 per cent.”

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