SACRAMENTO, CA - Former pro cyclist Chad Gerlach said he's impressed with Lance Armstrong's confession.
Gerlach was 22 when he made it on the U.S. Postal Service team. The talented cyclist was dropped a year later in 1996.
"Who knows if things would have been different for me," said Gerlach. "I may have been caught up in that culture a little bit."
Gerlach was on the Postal Service team before Armstrong. He never witnessed any doping, but he said it was an accepted part of the sport.
"I have a lot of friends, personally, maybe guys I rode with I knew that took it, but I never did." Gerlach said.
According to Gerlach, doping is widespread. He's impressed Armstrong came clean about it.
"I'm glad that he finally came out. I thought it was a big step for him," Gerlach said. "I think it was the right thing to do, and I think he has a long road."
Gerlach knows what it's like to fall from grace. After leaving the sport in 2003, his life went downhill. He was homeless, addicted to crack cocaine and panhandling in downtown Sacramento. Gerlach was featured in A&E's "Intervention" in 2008 before rehab.
"It's been a struggle for me," Gerlach said. "The last four years have been up and down."
Gerlach's last few years have been marked by a cycling comeback and drug relapses.
But all the while, Gerlach said his love for cycling has never stopped. He hopes Armstrongs confession serves as a turning point for cycling.
"The American public loves cycling," Gerlach said. "And a lot of it has to do with Lance."
Despite the doping, Gerlach said he doesn't know if all of Armstrong's titles should have been stripped since there is no doubt Armstrong is talented.
Gerlach also said cycling has cleaned up in the last few years and he thinks it's cleaner now than it ever has been.