Lance Armstrong confesses to doping, reports US media - and may testify against UCI officials

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

by Simon_MacMichael   January 15, 2013  

Lance Armstrong Livestrong speech You Tube still

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.

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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 Yawn

posted by gareth2510 [136 posts]
15th January 2013 - 13:48

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

posted by madguern [25 posts]
15th January 2013 - 13:53

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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.

posted by karlowen [65 posts]
15th January 2013 - 13:57

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

posted by fiftyacorn [91 posts]
15th January 2013 - 14:14

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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.

Last night I would have considered trading a very loud baby for a really nice bike.

posted by notfastenough [3083 posts]
15th January 2013 - 14:27

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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.

posted by andyp [860 posts]
15th January 2013 - 14:41

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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...)

posted by Lacticlegs [124 posts]
15th January 2013 - 15:50

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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.

posted by Lacticlegs [124 posts]
15th January 2013 - 15:54

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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? Surprise

It doesn't bear thinking about.

posted by offshore_dave [36 posts]
15th January 2013 - 16:04

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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? Surprise

It doesn't bear thinking about.

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

posted by Son of Crunch [12 posts]
15th January 2013 - 16:47

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madguern wrote:
New book titled 'ok, its not all about the bike' best seller 2013 Smile

'It's All About the Spike'?

Ghedebrav's picture

posted by Ghedebrav [1082 posts]
15th January 2013 - 16:58

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book title should be

purgory and me.

lance is a spineless cunt and has ruined many lives. emma o'reilly especially.

the cunt should be going to prison and paying back everypenny he earned/sued/stole from the charity and all the individuals and companies with interest on top.

dirty cheating two faced thieving bastard face.

posted by russyparkin [579 posts]
15th January 2013 - 17:22

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Wow! such a lot of hatred out there for someone who cheated in sport through drug taking. Cycling is just sport and wishing on him a lengthy jail sentence (or even death!), is taking it too far I reckon. Do we have the same vehement hatred for the great many of other dopers who have since been found out? Do we wish the same on David Millar, for example? Or is it simply reserved for those who were successful at cheating and winning?!

The punishment is his ruined reputation and ban from sport, along with the any associated financial penalties which should rightfully be imposed.

We do love to see a spectacular fall from grace though, especially for one who has previously done good work through charity (to the tune of $470m - allegedly). Makes you proud to be a human being.

But of course to err is human, to forgive...etc. I know a lot of people struggle with that.

posted by 700c [556 posts]
15th January 2013 - 18:44

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700c, go and tell that to Betsy Andreu, Emma O'Reilly, David Walsh, Paul Kimmage, Greg Lemond, Christophe Bassons, Pierre Ballester, SCA Promotions, The Sunday Times... and anyone else whose livelihood, finances and/or reputation he has threatened/tried to wreck.

(Apologies if you have been in a coma for the past decade or so).

posted by Mat Brett [1857 posts]
15th January 2013 - 23:14

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700c wrote:
especially for one who has previously done good work through charity (to the tune of $470m - allegedly).

That'll be the $470m spent on lawyers, private jets, litigation and lawyers and a whole lot of promoting the self-serving needs of Livestrong and barely nothing spent on anything directly to do with medical research.

Make mine an Italian with Campagnolo on the side

posted by monty dog [360 posts]
15th January 2013 - 23:23

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Livestrong was never set up to invest in cancer research.

The idea behind Livestrong is that access to the latest research regarding the treatment of all different types of cancer is very difficult for sufferers and (believe it or not) doctors. Livestrong was set-up to as a sort of middle-man to facilitate better access to the latest research and information, to give sufferers a better chance of survival.

This is especially important for poorer communities - hence why the Livestrong headquarters were set up in the middle of a poor hispanic community.

So yes, you're correct - Livestrong has never invested a penny in medical research, as it never intended to. Your other claim, well I pressume you have proof of that, because the last time I looked LA was being investigated for drug use, not for swindling funds from a charity.

posted by daddyELVIS [386 posts]
16th January 2013 - 0:16

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Tosspot is now trying to buy his way out of lawsuits and criminal charges... money talks eh?!

posted by gareth2510 [136 posts]
16th January 2013 - 11:51

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minnellium's picture

posted by minnellium [78 posts]
16th January 2013 - 20:41

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This information about the expenditures of Livestrong really needs to be investigated. I heard that only 5% of the money went to cancer research or treatment. The real irony is that if the Andreu's are right and Armstrong admitted to one of his doctors in the hospital room in 1996 that he took PEDs before, then his whole cancer kingdom was created his own cancer most likely caused by his use of illegal substances! Rest in peace Marco Pantani and Laurent Fignon.

posted by Rgriffith7 [8 posts]
16th January 2013 - 20:50

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A lot of hate expressed and that's understandable, he's Mr Marmite really.
Monty dog - stick to the cycling aspect here. You are, quite simply, wrong in your knowledge of Livestrong; read what daddyELVIS wrote, he's correct.

If any of you could see past your hate and consider this a little more rationally, there may be good to come out of a Lance confession. I find it strange that there is little parallel with recreational drug-use when considering drug-use in sport. With recreational drug-use we really go after the facilitators (dealers)and not so much the users (although this should also be pursued); if this really was the massive doping operation that is claimed, then there must have been a very organised and large supply chain. If (and that may be a big if) Lance can name these people, that could be a good thing. I'm not just talking the team doctors, Ferrari etc here, the supply chain must go a lot deeper than that. At the end of the day, athletes are only human and the rewards have obviously been worth the risk, it only seems logical to me to try to tackle the supply of drugs into the sport and address the issue at it's source.

posted by pwake [289 posts]
16th January 2013 - 20:53

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Rgriffith7 wrote:
This information about the expenditures of Livestrong really needs to be investigated. I heard that only 5% of the money went to cancer research or treatment. The real irony is that if the Andreu's are right and Armstrong admitted to one of his doctors in the hospital room in 1996 that he took PEDs before, then his whole cancer kingdom was created his own cancer most likely caused by his use of illegal substances! Rest in peace Marco Pantani and Laurent Fignon.

Wrong! Read what daddyELVIS wrote.
I live in the states and it is undeniable that Livestrong does a LOT of good for people diagnosed with cancer. The charity was never setup to be involved with research/treatment, but rather advocacy/lobbying and advice, which it happens to do rather well.

posted by pwake [289 posts]
16th January 2013 - 21:00

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This is from the Livestrong Foundation mission statement,
"The LAF focuses on cancer prevention, access to screening and care, research and quality of life for cancer survivors."

posted by Rgriffith7 [8 posts]
16th January 2013 - 21:09

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Rgriffith7 wrote:
This is from the Livestrong Foundation mission statement,
"The LAF focuses on cancer prevention, access to screening and care, research and quality of life for cancer survivors."

Yes, not the best wording and so I can see your confusion, but the crucial words are "access to"; Livestrong focus on providing access to the latest research, advice, care information etc. Just generally supporting people who have heard the words "You have Cancer" spoken to them...

posted by pwake [289 posts]
16th January 2013 - 21:22

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I suppose it depends on whether you mean livestrong.org, a charity, or livestrong.com, a profit making company. Google "It's not about the lab rats" to find out more about where the money goes. Well worth a read.

posted by The Rumpo Kid [590 posts]
16th January 2013 - 22:41

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700c - I don't think the post suggesting that he be denied the oxygen of oxygen was meant to be taken literally (I have Asperger's Syndrome so normally I would take it literally however taking a step back I hope it isn't).

Yes, Lance should go to prison for lying on oath, ie perjury because here in the UK it's a penalty of up to seven years in prison as Jeffrey Archer knows only too well.

Shocking to think that in the USA it's possible for people to lie, for someone to be executed for that lie and then if it's not discovered to be a lie within five years the liars get away with it? If there's an exemption in the statute of limitations for murder, there should be an exemption for perjury.

I feel as disappointed by Lance (and others) cheating as do in the UCI not catching them at it. I was prepared to believe he was being set up, but not any more.

If cycling is indeed a sport of self-abuse why aren't more cyclists sectioned under the mental health act?

posted by hairyairey [279 posts]
17th January 2013 - 0:50

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The bigger news (?) about his admission of doping will be his declaration to testify. this cleansing of cycling is going in hyper drive with his testimony at USADA. Bruyneel is swinging in the breeze now, no bargaining chips left for him. McQuaid is probably having sleepless nites as well, along with select others in the autocracy of the UCI. It's just now getting interesting, the man with all the names is going to sing. Big Grin

Michael R. Smith

posted by American tifosi [37 posts]
17th January 2013 - 2:35

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from dope to grass.

posted by Viro Indovina [78 posts]
17th January 2013 - 12:52

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700c - the hatred (and yes - I'd go as far as to say that on my part, it really IS hatred) is there for the very good reason that LA's 'crimes' far far and away transcend what is 'just a sport'.

He's ruined people's lives. Destroyed careers. Sued and financially crippled people, undermined their businesses and sooooo much more.

To say nothing of peddling a pack of lies, and causing untold damage to a sport that I - and many others - love.

'Just a sport'? You sound like the people who use the platitude 'It's not personal, it's just business' when they screw someone over in the professional sphere.

Livelihoods, careers, dignity, self-respect, the ability to provide for oneself and one's family...don't kid yourself - it doesn't get any more personal than that.

posted by Lacticlegs [124 posts]
17th January 2013 - 14:46

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See where you're all coming from, just offering what I feel is some perspective - after some very strong views expressed. When everyone's shouting one thing, I tend to think the other!

The guy has let down millions in a massive way and it's going to evoke strong feelings, still wouldn't say I feel hatred towards him though.

posted by 700c [556 posts]
17th January 2013 - 20:18

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700c wrote:
See where you're all coming from, just offering what I feel is some perspective - after some very strong views expressed. When everyone's shouting one thing, I tend to think the other!

The guy has let down millions in a massive way and it's going to evoke strong feelings, still wouldn't say I feel hatred towards him though.

Fairy Nuff Wink

posted by Lacticlegs [124 posts]
18th January 2013 - 0:43

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