Lance Armstrong confessed to doping during his Tour de France reign and began an offensive to restore his name, according to various reports on Tuesday.

On Monday, he gave his first interview since the US anti-doping agency proved his cheating and stripped of his wins. The interview with US talk show host, Oprah Winfrey will air Thursday in the USA and 2am on Friday in London, but details are seeping through.

The Associated Press news agency reported that “a person familiar with the situation” told it Armstrong confessed in the pre-recorded interview.

The US Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) uncovered Armstrong’s years of lies and tactics over the last 12 months. Last summer, it found him guilty and stripped him of all his results since 1998, including the seven Tour wins he achieved after coming back from cancer.

The agency’s detailed 202-page Reasoned Decision made public the severity of Armstrong’s doping, everything from blood doping to threatening team-mates. It had the help of 11 of Armstrong’s former team-mates. Tyler Hamilton and Floyd Landis both testified to Armstrong telling them about the governing body, the UCI, helping cover up an EPO positive from the 2001 Tour of Switzerland.

Since the agency released the Reasoned Decision, team Rabobank folded, Sky fired staff members and the UCI formed an independent commission to investigate corruption claims.

USADA CEO Travis Tygart said, “The evidence shows beyond any doubt that the US Postal Service Pro Cycling Team ran the most sophisticated, professionalised and successful doping program that sport has ever seen.”

Instead of immediately testifying to USADA, Armstrong appears to be spinning his situation to survive in the new world. A preview of the interview gives fans an idea of what is in store.

Before the interview, Armstrong met with around 100 staff members from the Livestrong cancer foundation that he started in 1997 to apologise.

“Lance came to the Livestrong Foundation’s headquarters today for a private conversation with our staff and offered a sincere and heartfelt apology for the stress they’ve endured because of him,” Livestrong spokeswoman Rae Bazzarre said. He encouraged them “to keep up their great work fighting for people affected by cancer.”

Armstrong, according to the New York Times, is “planning to testify against several powerful people in the sport of cycling who knew about his doping and possibly facilitated it”. The newspaper reported he would go after officials from the UCI, possibly Pat McQuaid and his predecessor Hein Verbruggen, and from his team’s former management company, Tailwind Sports.

He is also working with the feds because long-time team sponsor, US Postal Service is a government agency. He will reportedly “testify against several of the team’s owners, including the investment banker Thom Weisel, and other officials.” The offensive move will help minimise losses in the whistleblower lawsuit that Landis filed in 2010.

Overnight, according to the Wall Street Journal, Department of Justice officials recommended joining the whistleblower lawsuit.

A whistleblower lawsuit, under the False Claims Act, allows citizens to sue on behalf of the government. Landis reportedly pointed out that Armstrong and Tailwind Sports defrauded the US Postal Service by agreeing to sponsorship contracts that stated doping would not be tolerated. Armstrong’s manoeuvring could help him limit his share of the penalty, which may reach up to three times US Postal Service’s payment, or $90m (£56m).

If Armstrong is successful then he will pay a little now out of a net worth the Wall Street Journal estimates to be $100m. He will enable himself to return to triathlons, Ironman competitions and regain his marketing value.

Oprah Winfrey is keeping quiet on the interview, but is building for the televised event. She wrote on Twitter, “Just wrapped with @lancearmstrong More than 2 1/2 hours. He came READY!” Today, Winfrey will appear on CBS network’s This Morning show to talk about Armstrong.

Related links

Lance Armstrong will ‘answer Oprah questions honestly’

Lance Armstrong interview with Oprah Winfrey raises doubts

Lance Armstrong to talk to Oprah Winfrey about doping

Lance Armstrong: Rider Profile

  • Tony short

    Someone hiding behind the name Ordinary Mortal says “poor Lance.” Staggeringly unaware doesn’t come close to describing a person that can utter such a trite and ill informed piece of nonsense. Whilst I don’t seek to defend any athlete who cheats with the use of PEDs, the names of Simpson and Mercx you mention are in no way compatible to Armstrong. Armstrong didnt just shove this muck in his own body, he orchestrated an entire regime that trafficked PEDS, leant on his colleagues to use a massive array of doping products and blood transfusions and froze out the team mates who wouldn’t dope and even sought to destroy some of these people by dragging them through the courts with access to his huge wealth and expensive legal team. He bullied and lied to journalists and his opponents and stands accused of bribing the UCI to bury positive dope tests and trying to buy the silence of other people with hush money. Tommy Simpson was in all other respects a decent man who took a bit of speed to try and compete in a more innocent age. Without seeking to excuse this, he is a million miles away from a serial liar, multi millionaire bully and cheat who consistently hid behind a cancer charity and led a double life that involved crushing and humiliating all those who stood in his path or sought to expose him.

    Poor Lance my eye!

  • ordinary mortal

    Well the LA cat has been out of the bag for sometime (since Floyd grassed him up in 2010). Is it not the case however that LA is being made a scapegoat here? Why have none of the other TdF winners been stripped of their titles. Was it not the case that Mercx even refused to give samples! Tom Simpson, albiet not a TdF winner, is still held in high regard in the English cycling fraternity even though he dropped dead on the road.
    Poor old Lance.

  • Tony Short

    In response to Ed above. I don’t want to see a man run 100m in 3.7 seconds because I know it would be a fake, I know the guy doing it would probably die very young, and i know that every kid with a TV set would want to do t in 3.6 seconds and would realise that they could only do it if they took a ton of PEDs themselves and they would die young trying. Taking PEDs is wrong and making heroes out of a freak who can run 100m in 3.6 seconds or win the Tour de France 7 times in a row at 40kph average is a pretty sick ideal if you ask me.

  • Diesel Cummins

    Is this programme likely to be shown here in the UK? And if so, what channel?

  • Diesel Cummins

    I’ll hang fire until the show is aired before really letting rip, but it does seem to me that Armstrong is playing to type and threatening to take down others along with himself. Nobody forced him to cheat, however, if he can prove that the UCI were involved in some way the world of cycling as we know it will be blown to bits, which may not be a bad thing starting the whole thing from scratch.

  • Mike

    I agree,Ed, but I wont hold my breath.

    Armstrong always has an agenda and it always involves doing what is best for him.
    You can bet your life he has manipulated both the interview and the edit, and carefully stage managed all his answers.
    This should have been happening in a court of law, not on a TV chat show.

  • Ian Franklin

    Lance Armstrong will never be able to confess without damaging other people. It is how sociopaths operate. They never admit to their own lies and failings without pointing their fingers at everyone else in order to justify their own lies. That is the nature of a sociopath. That is what they do. Deflect the accusations by turning the same accusations onto others. I am sure that this is what LA will be doing in the interview. These people are ace manipulators – just watch him! He’s out to save his butt and not lose too much money (or face). I know how these people operate – you only have to search sociopath on the net to understand Lance Lying Armstrong. Sadly, he may be correct, though, about his dealings with the Irish tinker. Pat is a man who always follows the wind and in doing so – through his twists and turns and associations with people like Verbruggen – has done considerable damage to our beloved sport. Sink all these people but save our sport.

  • Ed

    I don’t admire drug cheats. Anti-doping agencies are there to make sure that there is a fair and level playing field for all competitors. I fully support the efforts of the anti-doping bodies in stamping out the use of drugs in sport. Using performance enhancing drugs in a drug free sport is cheating, plain and simple, and nobody likes a cheat.

    Lets be honest for a second here though. Who doesn’t want to see a man run 100 meters in 3.7 seconds or clear a 17 meter high jump? It would be brilliant entertainment! I am sure more people would watch badminton if the shuttlecock was flying back and forth at 150 kph, and soccer would be much more entertaining if the goalkeeper had a slight chance of being decapitated by a Lionel Messi Free Kick.

    Read full post about drugs in sport here

  • stefano capone


    can’t believe you are on TV saying you took drugs after all your denials and stone throwing at others!

    Is this just to try and get off from your ban so you can compete again?

    Take the pain of being found out for the lying cheater that you are – which is something that I sussed about 14 years ago!

    When I was a kid I was always told don’t tell lies as you will always be found out in the end ! Your nemesis is right here , right now!

    Hopefully you will take yourself and all the other charlatans from you teams and UCI creeps like McQuaid and Verbrugge with you – you are a nasty stain on all the real people involved in pro and amateur sports of all sorts in the world!

    At least I can say I have ridden up L’Alpe D’ Huez on my bike without ‘enhancements’ – something you never have or ever will do !

  • art

    If the interview took 2.5 hours it will be interesting to see how much of it is shown, I think some very careful editing in the presence of the legal trade will no doubt be taking place before transmission.

  • William

    Oprah looks like she could do to lose a little weight

  • steve clarke

    This is a sad day for our sport and we must try to move on from all this.
    Lance has let down loads of people who believed in him and “the dream”, but we must remember that he was not the only rider cheating.

    What I find difficult to understand is why there has been no mention of the chain of supply, illegal supply of drugs to sportspeople is big business, where are the criminal charges???

    I believe that throughout the Armstrong years that there was a big “cover up” going on in professional cycling, which included the UCI, the race organisers, sponsors, teams and the media!

    Lance became BIGGER than the sport, and thus lots of people were making money and turning a “blind eye” to the real truth.

    I feel very sad for riders like Bassons who tried to race clean, but were bullied away from the Sport by cowards like Armstrong and the UCI.

  • borderfox

    would have been better if he was on Jeremy Kyle

  • art

    If the interview took 2.5 hours it will be interesting to see how much of it is shown, I think some very careful editing in the presence of the legal trade will no doubt be taking place before transmission.

  • Colnago dave

    See the attached comment from Ophrah – Oprah: Armstrong ‘did not come clean in expected way’ Did we expect any different ???

  • Seamus Leahy

    Armstrong has destroyed thousands of peoples dreams and betrayed their trust and admiration, return my left leg, he should be prosecuted, bankrupted and never allowed into a position of trust or influence again. As for those (Landis et al) who helped bring him down, they should not be allowed to profit from their own doping crimes by book writing etc, ooh let’s go to confession, twill all be alright afterwards and we will be clean and all will be forgotten. Angry ? you bet I am, I was one of many who watched those victories and applauded loud and long, who can have heroes if in real life they are only worthy of inhabiting a cesspit. S Leahy

  • phil tregear

    read Matt seatons article in the guradian today. What becomes clear is just how immoral and unethical LA and his team are. Yes, they will probably win the PR war. However, they will continue to avoid the hard questions raised by the likes of David Walsh and Nicole Cooke. The strategy is to avoid rigorous examination in court, by a proper journalist or by USADA. Drip feed pathetic emotional confessions and stay rich, stay famous. This is far more important than the truth. This man truly is the bottom of the heap. I feel sorry for American cycling and cyclists. LA will continue to be the figurehead they all have to compare themselves too, despite being exposed as the greatest cheat sport has ever produced. Be prepared for the most shameful chapter so far in this whole sordid affair.

  • Tony Short

    And in other news, bears today announced that they do sh*t in the woods.

  • Colnago dave

    Unfortunately she is not known for asking probing questions and more for pandering to her guests, so don’t expect too much

  • jimmy the fish

    So that’s it then. looks like he’ll avoid a spell in the ‘slammer’ after all. Loads of Lance memorabilia for disposal at Sunday’s Manchester Cycle Jumble, doors open 10am

  • Pat McQuaid Must Go

    Plea to Lance!
    Admit everything wrong that you did.
    Apologise to all that you hurt, bullied, beat unfairly, etc
    Bring down the UCI ‘leadership’
    Then ride off into the Texan sunset and do not reappear!