Armstrong Tells Oprah Winfrey He Doped

During an interview with Oprah Winfrey, cyclist Lance Armstrong has confessed that he used performance enhancing drugs to win the Tour de France, according to media reports.

The interview is to be broadcast Thursday on Winfrey’s network. Because of confidentiality agreements signed by both camps, no further details about the interview were available immediately.

The announcement that that cyclist had agreed to an interview had sparked widespread speculation that the 41-year-old Texan rider may finally confess to being a drug cheat after years of denial. Reporters, photographers, and TV crews took up positions across the street from Armstrong’s opulent Austin home, which is surrounded by an eight-foot-high (2.4-meter) stone wall.

The interview, which is the cyclist’s first since he was stripped in October of his seven Tour de France titles by the US Anti-Doping Agency (USADA), however may not offer great detail about specific cases and events.

Armstrong’s confession came hours after he personally paid a visit to the Livestrong charity that he founded and turned into a global institution on the strength of his celebrity status as a survivor of late-stage testicular cancer that had spread to his brain and lungs. About 100 staff members of the charity gathered in a conference room as the founder arrived with a simple message, “I’m sorry.” Lance Armstrong choked up during a talk of 20 minutes and expressed regret for the doping controversy over performance enhancing drugs but stopped short of admitting he used them. Several members were left in tears when Armstrong urged them to continue the mission of the charity of helping cancer patients and their families.

The confession of the disgraced cyclist may have legal ramifications and it may open a “Pandora’s box” as Armstrong may testify against officials from the International Cycling Union about their involvement with doping in cycling, but not against other riders. He is also believed to be in discussions with the U.S. Justice Department to possibly testify in the whistle-blower case against many team owners. The Sunday Times has sued Lance Armstrong for more than £1 million ($1.6 million) over a libel payment made to him in 2006 after he was effectively erased from the record books by the world governing body of cycling. A Texas insurance company, SCA Promotions, has also threatened legal action to recoup millions of dollars in bonuses it paid him for multiple Tour de France victories, and Lance is still unable to find a way out from Floyd Landis’ “whistleblower suit” under the False Claims Act.

Many were of the view that the cyclist will make a limited confession and this is all a calculated plan to rehabilitate his image and pave the way for a comeback in public life. It is also believed that a confession from Armstrong may help in reducing distractions about the controversy for Livestrong, the charity he founded, and he may be able to get income opportunities in the future such as book deals, speaking engagements, sponsorships, and even competitions that would not have been easy or even accessible without an admission. The confession is also seen by some as a good medium for Lance Armstrong to repair relationships with the cancer community.

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