Armstrong 'confesses to doping but could take others down'

Jan 15, 2013
Gavin Mortimer

Leaked reports of Oprah interview say cyclist could give evidence against those who helped him

Getty Images

LANCE ARMSTRONG has reportedly admitted that he used performance enhancing drugs to win the Tour de France. According to the New York Times, the Texan cyclist made the confession to Oprah Winfrey during an interview taped last night for broadcast this Thursday.

It's claimed that Armstrong's interview with the Queen of the Confessional was "emotional" as he finally came clean and admitted the charges that were levelled at him last October by the US Anti-Doping Agency, and which led to his lifetime ban from cycling.

After recording the interview in Armstrong's hometown of Austin, Texas, Winfrey tweeted: "Just wrapped with@lancearmstrong. More than 2 1/2 hours. He came READY!"

Armstrong had obviously set aside Monday as a Day of Atonement because before sitting down with Winfrey he paid a visit to the Austin headquarters of Livestrong, the foundation he established to support cancer sufferers. There he issued a "sincere and heartfelt apology" to 100 members of staff and "took responsibility" for all the damage he's caused to the foundation.

According to spokeswoman Katherine McLane, the cyclist's act of contrition "generated lots of tears". Asked whether Armstrong, who stepped down as Livestrong chairman in the wake of the doping charges, had admitted doping, McLane "declined to say".

When news broke last week of Armstrong's interview with Winfrey, there was widespread belief that the 41-year-old disgraced star would play the victim while confessing to nothing. One New York attorney claimed that were Armstrong to confess, he would run "a serious risk of opening himself up to fraud claims by companies that sponsored him and others".

But the New York Times says Armstrong is threatening to testify against "several powerful people in the sport of cycling" who were aware he was doping and who may have helped cover his tracks.

Though he will not name other riders on the circuit, the NYT says he could be a witness in a federal whistle-blower case involving the cycling team sponsored by the United States Postal Service and owned by several influential figures.

The paper adds that Armstrong could testify against officials from the International Cycling Union [ICU], the worldwide governing body of cycling. In banning Armstrong from cycling for life last year, the ICU declared that he "has no place in cycling and he deserves to be forgotten".

If Armstrong does reveal everything he knows about the level of doping in cycling, it will be a long while before his name is forgotten.

Sign up for our daily newsletter