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Disgraced cyclist reportedly admits doping during Oprah Winfrey interview to be broadcast Thursday

It was the day many believed would never come. Lance Armstrong, who last autumn brazened it out and insisted he had never doped even as his reputation was torn to shreds and he was banned from sport for life and was stripped of his seven Tour de France titles, yesterday reportedly confessed to doping during his interview with Oprah Winfrey to be broadcast on Thursday. It is also being reported that he may be willing to testify against others involved with doping - if true, one of the more surprising twists in the long saga, and one that could prove very uncomfortable for those close to the Texan in the past.

The latter claim was made by CBS News, however the New York Times has a slightly different story saying that Armstrong will testify against senior UCI officials but not against other riders - it is also unclear from the NYT report whether this is something Armstrong did during the Oprah interview or that that those close to him have put out in to the public domain.

According to CBS Armstrong is in negotiations with the US government to return some of the millions of dollars in sponsorship secured by his former US Postal Service team. It adds that the US Department of Justice is considering joining Floyd Landis's 'whistleblower' action regarding the misuse of federal funds - in this case, the use of sponsorship money from the public mail service to finance the team's doping programme.

The Wall Street Journal cites lawyers operating in that field as saying that in order to establish a case against Armstrong and any other potential defendants, it wouldn't need to be shown that the United States Postal Service actually lost money - only that any defendants had knowingly misrepresented themsleves at the time they entered into the contract with the body.

Prior to the interview with Winfrey conducted yesterday at a hotel in downtown Austin, Texas - it had originally been scheduled for his home there, but that had been staked out by the media - Armstrong visited the offices of Livestrong, the charity he set up as the Lance Armstrong Foundation in 1997 as he recovered from cancer, and apologised to staff there during what was said to be an emotional meeting.

Although he is not believed to have explicitly confessed to doping to the charity's staff, many of whom are themselves cancer survivors, they will now be in no doubt that for the past decade and a half Armstrong has misled them, the American public and millions of sports fans throughout the world through his unwavering insistence that he never took performance enhancing drugs.

Reports suggest however that Armstrong's apology wasn't for having lied to them, or for having doped - instead it was for the rather broader impact that the doping scandal that has engulfed him has had on the charity that he chaired until October, and which has now formally changed its name to Livestrong to distance itself from its founder.

The confession instead is reported to have come during that interview with Winfrey, which is said to have lasted two and a half hours, according to Fox News.

For now, exactly what was said remains a closely guarded secret. The chat show host, due to appear on CBS This Morning later today, tweeted only that "He came READY!" A source, quoted on Fox News, revealed that the interview had been "emotional at times."

Prior to it taking place, it had been reported that the former US Postal rider would make a 'limited' confession; he would admit to doping, but the specifics of how, when, where and which substances, as well as the names of others, would be withheld.

Winfrey's producers had consulted with Sunday Times journalist David Walsh and others as part of their research into which questions to ask.

They insisted that the interview would not be scripted in advance, that no question was beyond asking. Armstrong will have been  coached by his legal team and media advisors over what questions to expect, and how to handle them; with legal action pending from The Sunday Times and SCA Promotions, and other lawsuits likely to follow, it could not be otherwise.

It remains to be seen, however, whether Winfrey sought to get through Armstrong's defences, and whether she succeeded in making him deviate from his rehearsed lines; after all, he has had plenty of practice at deflecting uncomfortable questions and stating his own case, but the difference now is that it is known that his insistence he didn't dope was a lie and one that, by all accounts, he has now admitted.

According to The Wall Street Journal, the seeds for the confessional interview with Winfrey were planted during a meeting Armstrong held last month with Travis Tygart, CEO of the United States Anti-Doping Agency, who had continued to pursue him even after the Federal Investigation into US Postal had been suddenly shelved nearly a year ago.

Armstrong, who had apparently sought to find a way in which USADA might be persuaded to impose a reduced ban to enable him ultimately to return to competition - eight years is the minimum he could serve - reportedly told Tygart: "You don't hold the keys to my redemption. There's one person who holds the keys to my redemption, and that's me."

Certainly, that might explain why Armstrong chose now to go public and make a confession, if that is indeed what he has done. Fighting on a number of fronts, it is at one and the same time a damage limitation exercise and the start of a journey to rehabilitation that in truth may never have an end as he seeks somehow to restore even part of a reputation that lies in tatters.

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.

49 comments

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Wookster [53 posts] 3 years ago
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 37 Self serving confession. He's had the only thing that matters taken away ie the ability to compete.

To be honest how can any performance he now gives ever be without question, he's always tested clean, always adamantly said he's clean.

As a sport we need to close the door on this. It's said that such a huge chaper in the public perception of the sport needs to be torn up.

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RacePace [18 posts] 3 years ago
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I have no time for this guy any more, the fact that he may testify against others is a joke, how can he ever be trusted to tell anything other than fits with his scheme?

Whilst he may have raised the profile of the sport more than anyone else in recent years he has almost certainly reversed alot of that with his recent actions.

The excuse, which he will almost certainly use, that he had no choice but to dope to be competitive is totally unacceptable, of course he had a choice, he could have done what he is saying he will do now and testify against others...

If only he had put the energy he used to ruin the public perception of the sport into putting it right maybe we would be in a different situation now?

I have never been able to fully accept what david millar or Jonathan Vaughters have done even though they are working for the good so I can't see how I can possibly do anything than shout abuse at the TV when this clown is on.

Rant over - sorry!

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Rupert49 [40 posts] 3 years ago
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More wriggling than a bag of snakes.  44

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ragtag [200 posts] 3 years ago
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Too little, too late. Go away Lance.

Please don't give this man the oxygen of publicity... ideally not even the oxygen of oxygen either.

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offshore_dave [62 posts] 3 years ago
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It's all about Lance; nothing else matters to him.

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Roberj4 [214 posts] 3 years ago
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The guy needs to be placed in court and sent to jail for a number of years, it's a sentence he deserves. It's obvious he's armed with advises who 'coach' him in what to expect and reply with.

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Son of Crunch [12 posts] 3 years ago
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They should just find a little cave to put Armstrong, and all the rest of the dopers in this sport, past, present, and maybe future ones, and just let them rot - without any publicity...

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theclaw [73 posts] 3 years ago
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Me thinks that Tygart has got under Lance's skin  1

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arrieredupeleton [574 posts] 3 years ago
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I wonder how Hein, Pat and Johan slept last night? My guess is Larry claims to be a victim of both the UCI and Bruhneel. He's going down and he's taking them with him.

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gareth2510 [167 posts] 3 years ago
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If he has confessed its not because he felt he should...he just wants to compete and will probably sell a book on the back of it...its always the 'anyway back to me' scenario with him.

Used to be a fan and believe what he said, but now feel rather silly.

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gareth2510 [167 posts] 3 years ago
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rant away racepace...your only saying what everyone else thinks!!!

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Argy [138 posts] 3 years ago
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C@nt still srings to mind when LA comes up!  14 14 14 14

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antonio [1103 posts] 3 years ago
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Fat Pat on the rack, perhaps the only good thing to come out of it.

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hairyairey [296 posts] 3 years ago
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The surprising thing about this to me is that the statute of limitations means that he can't be tried for perjury. I just checked and Jeffrey archer was sent to prison in 2001 for lying in 1987. The USA needs to sort this out because as things stand now you can lie in their courts provided you aren't found out for five years. The idea behind a statute of limitations is a good one, that the state will not pursue its citizens forever but once it comes to court we expect the truth.

Shame Lance didn't testify in our courts he hadn't doped...

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Pitstone Peddler [104 posts] 3 years ago
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Antonio, that's the best we can hope for IMHO. Use LA to sort out the UCI, he owes this is the least he can do.

Then, I hope he goes away and never returns but somehow I doubt it.

Does this mean we will see that huge cycling fan Robin Williams will be back on the Champs Elysee  41

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badback [302 posts] 3 years ago
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Brace yourself for the kiss and tell book deal.

As, has been said before hopefully it should expose those who allegedly took a bung from Armstrong.

I think it's stating the obvious that he's only fessing up for his own personal gain whatever that may be. Hopefully he'll disappear once he's done Oprah and the next time we'll here from him is when he's in court. (fingers crossed  1 )

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notfastenough [3661 posts] 3 years ago
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That's it - the money shot!! Sob sob Ker-ching.

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Carl [135 posts] 3 years ago
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He'd make a great investment banker!

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SevenHills [184 posts] 3 years ago
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Carl wrote:

He'd make a great investment banker!

If you are talking rhyming slang then he already is!  4

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gareth2510 [167 posts] 3 years ago
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notfastenough wrote:

That's it - the money shot!! Sob sob Ker-ching.

Ah u can hear the sobs eh...totaly a book deal and film on the way  37

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madguern [25 posts] 3 years ago
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New book titled 'ok, its not all about the bike' best seller 2013  1

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karlowen [65 posts] 3 years ago
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If he can take Hein and Pat down with him he i believe may rescue a small amount of respect amongst the cycling fraternity. I hate that my sport is being destroyed, but i feel that if we try to rebuild it on shaky foundations then we are doomed to fail. Get rid of Pat, declare an amnesty and start afresh.

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fiftyacorn [89 posts] 3 years ago
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He needs to blow the lid on the 2009 TDF when he was riding for Astana with Contador

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notfastenough [3661 posts] 3 years ago
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fiftyacorn wrote:

He needs to blow the lid on the 2009 TDF when he was riding for Astana with Contador

Doubt he knew anything about Bertie. They blatantly didn't get on anyway, and two separate camps formed really. I'd be surprised if either allowed the other to see anything incriminating.

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andyp [1436 posts] 3 years ago
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'He needs to blow the lid on the 2009 TDF when he was riding for Astana with Contador'

I'll blow the lid: Armstrong acted like a complete dick.
HTH.

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Lacticlegs [124 posts] 3 years ago
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Wow - what a mixed bag of emotions.

Firstly - a sense of smug satisfaction to be finally vindicated in my belief that LA is, and was, a total turd. Not to mention all the abuse I've received from several people on this site (who now seem to have fallen conveniently quiet) whenever I expressed doubt or scepticism about monkeyboy's achievements.

I'm delighted that he might testify against Pat and Hein et al - it's the only way (and I mean the ONLY way) we can get the sport moving in the right direction again. They are awful, foul people who should not be in charge of anything.

But most of all I'm frustrated and getting angry - merely over the IDEA that this confession could result in a reduction of his lifetime ban, or indeed any other lessening of the penalties against him.

I mean come on, this is not really a confession is it? He's just finally owning up to what we've known for a long time and what has since been conclusively proved - all the while he was denying and prosecuting and lying and going about the daily business of, y'know, destroying the lives of more honest people who spoke out.

Not sure if I'll watch the Oprah thing...I'm interested, but whoever it was above who said we should not give him the oxygen of publicity is spot on.

Here's my fervent prayer: he confesses, gets sued from every possible direction and ends up bankrupt, then gets prosecuted for perjury and DOES JAIL TIME FOR IT! His lifetime ban remains in place - cannot believe there is ANY question that it might not. And once this mendacious little creep finally crawls back out into the sunlight, we never ever hear from him again. (Sigh - never a genie and a lamp when you need one...)

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Lacticlegs [124 posts] 3 years ago
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ragtag wrote:

Too little, too late. Go away Lance.

Please don't give this man the oxygen of publicity... ideally not even the oxygen of oxygen either.

Hee hee - I love this post. Had to backtrack to find it and enjoy it a second time. Couldn't agree more.

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offshore_dave [62 posts] 3 years ago
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To think that he feels he has a political career ahead of him.

FFS.

Can you imagine him in a position of power?  13

It doesn't bear thinking about.

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Son of Crunch [12 posts] 3 years ago
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offshore_dave wrote:

To think that he feels he has a political career ahead of him.

FFS.

Can you imagine him in a position of power?  13

It doesn't bear thinking about.

I believe the UCI could find a place for him!!  3

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Ghedebrav [1098 posts] 3 years ago
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madguern wrote:

New book titled 'ok, its not all about the bike' best seller 2013  1

'It's All About the Spike'?

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