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
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?
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.