Armstrong tells Oprah he doped: reports

AAP, Yahoo!7 January 15, 2013, 11:27 am

After a decade of denial, Lance Armstrong has finally come clean - he used performance-enhancing drugs to win the Tour de France.

The disgraced cyclist made the confession to Oprah Winfrey during an interview taped on Monday, a source told The Associated Press.

The interview is to be broadcast on Winfrey's network on Thursday with Australian audiences able to tune in to pay-TV's Discovery Channel which will simulcast the 90-minute interview at 1pm on Friday (AEDT). It will also be streamed on the internet.

The admission on Monday came hours after an emotional apology by Armstrong to the Livestrong charity that he founded and took global on the strength of his celebrity as a cancer survivor who came back to win one of sport's most gruelling events.

The confession was a stunning reversal, after years of public statements, interviews and court battles in which he denied doping and zealously protected his reputation.

Winfrey tweeted afterward: "Just wrapped with @lancearmstrong More than 2 1/2 hours. He came READY!"

She was scheduled to appear on CBS This Morning on Tuesday to discuss the interview.

Even before the taping session with Winfrey began, Armstrong's apology to Livestrong staff suggested he would carry through on promises over the weekend to answer Winfrey's questions "directly, honestly and candidly".

The cyclist was stripped of his seven Tour de France titles, lost most of his endorsements and was forced to leave the foundation last year after the US Anti-Doping Agency issued a damning, 1,000-page report that accused him of masterminding a long-running doping scheme.

About 100 staff members of the charity Armstrong founded in 1997 gathered in a conference room as Armstrong arrived with a simple message: "I'm sorry."

He choked up during a 20-minute talk, expressing regret for the long-running controversy had caused, but stopped short of admitting he doped.

He urged the staff to continue the charity's mission, helping cancer patients and their families.

"Heartfelt and sincere," is how Livestrong spokesman Katherine McLane described his speech.

Armstrong later huddled with almost a dozen people before stepping into a room set up at a downtown Austin hotel for the interview.

The group included close friends and advisers, two of his lawyers and Bill Stapleton, his agent, manager and business partner.

No further details about the interview were available immediately because of confidentiality agreements signed by both camps.

But Winfrey promoted it as a "no-holds barred" session, and after the voluminous USADA report - which included testimony from 11 former teammates - she had plenty of material for questions.


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