Armstrong to admit doping in Oprah interview
AUSTIN, Texas — Lance Armstrong said he will answer questions “directly, honestly and candidly” during an interview with Oprah Winfrey this week. He also will apologize and make a limited confession to using performance-enhancing drugs, according to a person with knowledge of the situation.
Armstrong has spent more than a decade denying that he doped to win the Tour de France seven times. Without saying whether he would confess or apologize, Armstrong told The Associated Press in a text message Saturday, “I told her (Winfrey) to go wherever she wants and I'll answer the questions directly, honestly and candidly.”
A confession would be a stunning reversal for Armstrong after years of public statements, interviews and court battles in which he denied doping and zealously protected his reputation.
Armstrong was stripped of his titles and banned from the sport for life last year after the U.S. Anti-Doping agency issued a detailed report accusing him of leading a sophisticated and brazen drug program on his U.S. Postal Service teams that included steroids, blood boosters and a range of PEDs.
Armstrong's interview with Winfrey is not expected to go into detail about specific allegations levied in the more than 1,000-page USADA report. But Armstrong will make a general confession and apologize, according to the person, who requested anonymity.
The Oprah Winfrey Network announced it would be a “no-holds barred” interview. It is scheduled to be taped Monday and broadcast Thursday night.
Armstrong is facing legal challenges on several fronts, including a federal whistle-blower lawsuit brought by former teammate Floyd Landis, who himself was stripped of the 2006 Tour de France title, accusing him of defrauding the U.S. Postal Service. The U.S. Justice Department has yet to announce whether it will join the case.
The London-based Sunday Times is also suing Armstrong to recover about $500,000 it paid him to settle a libel lawsuit, and Dallas-based SCA Promotions has threatened to bring yet another lawsuit against Armstrong to recover more than $7.5 million an arbitration panel awarded him as a bonus for winning the Tour de France.
Potential perjury charges stemming from his sworn testimony in the 2005 arbitration fight would not apply because of the statute of limitations.
Armstrong may be hoping a confession would allow him to return to competition in the elite triathlon or running events he participated in after his cycling career. But World Anti-Doping Code rules state his lifetime ban cannot be reduced to less than eight years. WADA and U.S. Anti-Doping officials could agree to reduce the ban further depending on what new information Armstrong provides.