Cycling

Lance admits doping to Oprah

2013-01-15 07:09
Lance Armstrong (AFP)

Austin - Cyclist Lance Armstrong has admitted to talk show host Oprah Winfrey that he used performance-enhancing drugs in a lengthy interview to be aired later this week, USA Today reported on Monday.

A confession would mark a stunning reversal after Armstrong spent years strenuously denying doping allegations, sticking to his story even after being publicly shamed and stripped of his seven Tour de France titles last year.

Any admission of guilt could also have legal or financial ramifications, particularly among big-name corporate sponsors such as Nike that had loyally stood by him even as the allegations grew.

It was Armstrong's first interview since he was stripped in October of his Tour de France titles after the US Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) said he helped orchestrate the most sophisticated doping programme in sports history.

Winfrey was set to appear on CBS television's "This Morning" programme on Tuesday to promote the interview.

She did not reveal details of the interview ahead of its Thursday night air date on her OWN cable network and its website, but took to Twitter to say Monday's exchange had lasted more than two and a half hours.

"He came READY!" she tweeted.

The announcement that Armstrong had agreed to an interview had sparked widespread speculation that he might finally confess to being a drug cheat after years of adamant denials.

Reporters, photographers and TV crews took up positions earlier across the street from Armstrong's opulent Austin home, where the interview took place and which is surrounded by an eight-foot stone wall.

USA Today, which cited an unnamed person familiar with the interview as saying Armstrong had admitted to doping, had earlier indicated that the cyclist did not plan to go into great detail about specific cases and events.

Armstrong's spokesperson Mark Fabiani declined to address the reports, saying: "We have an arrangement with Oprah's team not to comment until the show is broadcast and we are honoring that."

Richard Pound, the former head of the World Anti-Doping Agency, said on Monday he would have liked to see Armstrong face a proper interrogation panel and that a confession could backfire if critics aren't satisfied with the platform he chose.

"I would have preferred he did it in front of 'Face The Nation' or 'Meet the Press' and get some hard questions from people," Pound said, referring to prominent US Sunday television news talk shows.

"What he risks if he gets a softball outcome is people will be even more put off."

Pound said he thinks Armstrong might be hoping a confession would pave the way for USADA to lift his lifetime ban so that he can return to competing in marathons and triathlons.

But, he added, Armstrong would have to be willing to tell all for that to happen.

Before the taping, Armstrong personally apologized to staff members at Livestrong, the charity he founded to support cancer survivors.

"Lance came to the Livestrong Foundation's headquarters today for a private conversation with our staff and offered a sincere and heartfelt apology for the stress they've endured because of him," Livestrong spokesperson Rae Bazzarre said.

She added that Armstrong - a cancer survivor who founded the charity in 1997 - urged Livestrong staffers "to keep up their great work fighting for people affected by cancer."

Since the International Cycling Union effectively erased Armstrong from the record books, The Sunday Times of Britain has sued him for more than £1 million over a libel payment made to him in 2006.

It had paid Armstrong £300 000 to settle a libel case after publishing a story suggesting he may have cheated, and now wants that money, plus interest and legal costs, repaid.

A Texas insurance company has also threatened legal action to recoup millions of dollars in bonuses it paid him for multiple Tour victories.

Armstrong's years of dominance in the sport's greatest race raised cycling's profile in the United States to new heights.

It also gave the Texan - diagnosed in 1996 with late-stage testicular cancer that had spread to his brain and lungs - a unique platform to promote cancer awareness and research.

The Lance Armstrong Foundation has raised almost $500 million since its creation 16 years ago.

In the wake of the allegations, several top sponsors dumped Armstrong, and on November 14, Livestrong dropped his name from the foundation.

Read more on:    lance armstrong  |  cycling
NEXT ON SPORT24X

 

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
116 comments
Comments have been closed for this article.
Live Video Streaming
  • Blitz
    Mon, 24 Nov 2014 @00:00
  • SS1
    Mon, 24 Nov 2014 @01:00
  • SS2
    Mon, 24 Nov 2014 @02:00
  • SS3
    Mon, 24 Nov 2014 @03:00
Video Highlights
Sport Talk

 

Your Winter Body Weight Workout

Cold weather does not mean you have to slack off on your workouts, here are some tips to stay fit in the winter.

 
 

Outdoor

The perks of power walking
Best ‘glamping' spots in the Western Cape
6 hiking routes you have to try
South African woman learns to surf at age 70
 
 
/Sport
Men
Women
Love 2 Meet
English Premiership flutter

Take Sport24's "expert" tips at your peril...

SuperBru Super Rugby challenge

Enter and challenge Sport24's staff!

Featured

As the Absa Premiership nears the Christmas break, a little over half the season remains. Who will be crowned champions when all is said and done? Which teams will be relegated? Stay glued to Sport24 to find out!

Latest blogs
Vote

Besides the 'Big 3' of rugby, cricket and soccer, which of the 'smaller' sports in South Africa do you enjoy the most?

Twitter Follow Sport24 on Twitter

Facebook "Like" Sport24's Facebook page

WIN Enter and win with Sport24!

BlackBerry Stay in the loop on your BlackBerry

RSS Feeds Sport news delivered really simply.

 
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.