Cycling

Millar: Lance interview a farce

2013-01-09 22:18
David Millar (AFP)

London - British cyclist David Millar has expressed concern over what he believes will be Lance Armstrong's "stage-managed" appearance in an interview with US talk show host Oprah Winfrey.

Next week's broadcast will be Armstrong's first interview since he was stripped of his seven Tour de France titles after the US Anti-Doping Agency said he helped orchestrate the most sophisticated doping programme in cycling history.

A spokesperson for Winfrey insisted on Wednesday no question would be off limits and Armstrong would not be paid for a 90 minute interview that is due to air on January 17.

However, Millar now a member of the athletes' commission for the World Anti-Doping Agency, said Armstrong needs to be questioned by an official body.

"Only Lance would get to have his moment of truth, if that's what it will be, in front of Oprah Winfrey," said Millar.

"It is not sitting in front of a judge or a disciplinary hearing being properly questioned about the things he has done wrong. I doubt very much it will be a proper interrogation," added Millar, who himself served a two-year ban after admitting doping in 2004 and then became a vocal campaigner against drugs in sport.

"My biggest concern is that it will be completely stage-managed, that he will just be 'given the ball', and that it will all be about his emotions rather than concentrating on exactly what he did wrong."

However, Nicole Nichols of Winfrey's OWN cable TV network told AFP in Washington via an e-mail: "Armstrong has no editorial control and no question is off-limits." She added the cyclist is getting no payment for the interview.

Last week, The New York Times reported that Armstrong, 41, was considering publicly admitting that he used banned performance-enhancing drugs, in an apparent bid to return to competitive sport in marathons and triathlons.

On her Twitter feed on Tuesday, Winfrey said: "Looking forward to this conversation with @lancearmstrong". Armstrong re-tweeted that message on his own Twitter account.

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