Sunday Times journalist reveals contact with show's producers ahead of interview to be taped tomorrow...

Lance Armstrong will reportedly make a limited confession to doping in an interview to be conducted with Oprah Winfrey tomorrow and which is due to be aired on Thursday. The news came as The Sunday Times published a full-page advert in The Chicago Tribune, based in the city where Winfrey lives, in which its chief sports writer, David Walsh, put forward ten questions he believes Armstrong needs to answer.

According to “a person with knowledge of the situation” cited in an Associated Press report published on Boston.com and other outlets, Armstrong is expected to make what is described as a “limited confession” to doping in the interview, which will be recorded tomorrow at the disgraced cyclist's home in Austin Texas.

The advert reads:

An open letter to Oprah Winfrey

The Sunday Times

Dear Oprah

I have spent the last 13 years investigating allegations that Lance Armstrong had taken performance-enhancing drugs. I have just been voted journalist of the year in the UK.

Here are 10 questions I would ask Lance…

• Did you tell doctors at the Indiana University Hospital on Oct 27, 1996 that you had taken EPO, human growth hormone, cortisone, steroids and testosterone?

• After returning from cancer how did you justify putting banned drugs in your body?

• Did you have any sympathy for those rivals determined to race clean?

• Do you regret how you treated Betsy Andreu, your former masseuse Emma O’Reilly and Greg LeMond?

• Do you admit that your friend Dr Michele Ferrari fully supported your team’s doping?

• Is it your intention to return the prize money you earned from Sept 1998 to July 2010?

• Did you sue The Sunday Times to shut us up?

• Was your failure to understand Floyd Landis the key to your downfall?

• Do you accept your lying to the cancer community was the greatest deception of all?

• Why have you chosen Oprah Winfrey for your first interview as a banned athlete?


David Walsh
Chief Sports Writer, The Sunday Times

PS: The Sunday Times is seeking to recover about $1.5m it claims he got by fraud. He used Britain’s draconian libel laws against us.

To read Walsh’s articles on the scandal, go to: thesundaytimes.co.uk/lance or download the ebook Lanced: the Shaming of Lance Armstrong ($4.79) at Amazon.com.

The Chicago Tribune is owned by the Tribune Company and has no connection with News Corporation, the ultimate parent company of The Sunday Times.

When it was revealed last week that Armstrong was to be interviewed by Winfrey, it was widely believed that the interview, would be carefully scripted and that the disgraced cyclists’ lawyers would have control over what could be asked.

Those claims were refuted last week by a spokeswoman for the show, who said there would be “"No payment for the interview. No editorial control, no question is off-limits."

The programme will be shown on TV at 9pm Eastern Standard Time on Thursday evening and will also be streamed live online for free at Oprah.com.

Further evidence that Winfrey intends to ask uncomfortable questions of Armstrong came via Twitter from Walsh himself, the journalist confirming that he had been contacted by the show’s producers, as had Kathy LeMond and Betsy Andreu.

Last week, Walsh had asked Twitter what questions should be asked of Armstrong, receiving 1,200 replies, many of which reflect those contained in the advert published in the Chicago Tribune.

He also revealed a “humorous top 5,” a list topped by the question, “How did you manage to pull Sheryl Crow?” – Walsh pointed out that there had been a number of questions relating to Armstrong’s relationship with the singer, but added that “The funniest lacked taste and couldn't be included” in the list.

Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.


abudhabiChris [691 posts] 5 years ago

There is only one question to be asked.

"In the course of your professional cycling career did you ever take banned drugs or undertake banned procedures. In other words, Lance Armstrong, were you a doper ?"

Everything else comes from that - who, what, why, when and how much, plus the personal stuff and the tearful plea for redemption.

With all due respect to David Walsh his questions are not great for TV. A lot of them could be dodged or argued because they are based on a double premise. They're of the "Have you stopped beating your wife" style.

Print journalists can ask as much as they like in convoluted ways and cobble together the responses to make sense.

Say what you like about Oprah but she knows good TV and she knows perfectly well that "Lance Armstrong confesses on Oprah" is a lot better for her then "Lance Armstrong continues to deny everything on Oprah".

And even worse, if he later confesses, she will look very stupid. I would not be surprised if lawyers had written something like that in, or tried it.

Rodzzz [2 posts] 5 years ago

Here is a preview of the interview at http://sorrysods.com (funny)

paulfg42 [392 posts] 5 years ago

There is only one question to be asked: have you not got another photo of Armstrong to use in these articles?

graphite [67 posts] 5 years ago

@paulfg42 I reckon they should use this one from now on... http://mikejoosart.blogspot.co.uk/2011/07/pinocchio-riding-bike-made-of-...

fiftyacorn [90 posts] 5 years ago

I thought the choice of Oprah was a strange one, then I read that Discovery co-owns the Oprah Channel, and it made sense

OldRidgeback [2856 posts] 5 years ago

If Oprah would ask if he'd also pay back the damages he falsely claimed against other people too such as his former team mates and their families - as well as publicly apologising for being a liar.

ubercurmudgeon [169 posts] 5 years ago

My question would be, "Having spent the last decade and a half incessantly banging on about how you simply worked harder than everyone else, which has now been proved to be complete bunk, why should anyone pay any attention to anything you have to say ever again?"

jdstrachan@yaho... [52 posts] 5 years ago

I would also like to know what he has to say to the riders he bullied in the peleton, those who dared speak out against him, and on a personal note, what he has to say to people like me, who had him as an idol, who were motivated to learn to ride because of him and now feel cheated, humiliated and a total fool because of his behaviour.

But he won't because hes a bullish tw4t who thinks hes done nothing wrong and cant accept his way is not the right way.  14

LeDomestique [34 posts] 5 years ago

Agree. Much as I admire Walsh's journalism, his questions have the convoluted trademark of the pencil-sucking textie. Keep it direct and simple for TV. Did you dope? If so why did you lie? Why did you persuade others to dope? Are you ashamed of your actions?

Sadly Armstrong's "redemption" looks as carefully and cynically planned as his doping activities. He's a business machine that can't stop calculating the bottom line.

paulfg42 [392 posts] 5 years ago
graphite wrote:

@paulfg42 I reckon they should use this one from now on... http://mikejoosart.blogspot.co.uk/2011/07/pinocchio-riding-bike-made-of-...