Lance confesses to Oprah

Written By Unknown on Selasa, 15 Januari 2013 | 20.01

Lance Armstrong reportedly apologised to his Livestrong charity staff before an interview with Oprah.

A report has emerged that Lance Armstrong confessed to taking drugs during his recorded interview with Oprah Winfrey (AP Photos/File) Source: AP

'CHOKED UP': Disgraced former cyclist Lance Armstrong has reportedly apologised to his staff. Source: AFP

SEVEN-TIME Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong confessed drug use in his recorded tell-all interview with Oprah Winfrey, an AP report states.

A further report in the New York Times quotes sources saying Armstrong would testify against cycling officials.

Winfrey recorded the interview with Armstrong on Monday which will be broadcast on Thursday in the United States.

The Associated Press report says:

"A person familiar with the situation says Lance Armstrong confessed to Oprah Winfrey during an interview Monday that he used performance-enhancing drugs to win the Tour de France.

The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the interview is to be broadcast Thursday on Winfrey's network."

Prior to the interview Armstrong, who was stripped of seven Tour de France titles when his drug use was exposed, reportedly "choked up" during the apology and some staff members were in tears.

"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.

She said Armstrong, a cancer survivor who founded the charity in 1997, urged Livestrong staffers "to keep up their great work fighting for people affected by cancer."

Join us for complete coverage of the explosive Lance Armstrong interview on Friday from 1pm AEDT.

Live chat - Instant analysis from Leo Schlink - Video highlights

Oprah's interview with Armstrong will be shown live in Australia on the Discovery Channel on Foxtel this Friday at 1PM AEDT.

Media staked out Armstrong's home in Austin earlier ahead of his interview with Winfrey, which was completed a few hours later.

CBS News tweeted that Armstrong was considering returning at least some of the taxpayers' funds paid to his US Postal professional team.

For years Armstrong denied taking performance-enhancing drugs to win the Tour de France and other big cycling events.

Reporters, photographers and TV crews took up positions Monday across the street from Armstrong's opulent Austin home, which is surrounded by a 2.4m stone wall.

The interview with Winfrey is scheduled to be taped at Armstrong's home on Monday and is to air on her OWN cable network on Thursday. It will also be streamed on its website.

Timeline of disgrace: How Lance's world collapsed

The announcement that Armstrong had agreed to an interview has sparked widespread speculation that he might finally confess to being a drug cheat after years of strenuous denials.

According to USA Today, Armstrong plans to confess in the interview to doping throughout his career, but will not go into great detail about specific cases and events.

It will be Armstrong's first interview since he was stripped in October of his seven Tour de France titles after the US Anti-Doping Agency said he helped orchestrate the most sophisticated doping program in sports history.

Armstrong has reportedly also made overtures to former teammate Floyd Landis, who blew the whistle on doping the US Postal team.

Armstrong previously called his former teammate "a carton of sour milk" and "a person of zero credibility", but USA Today reported:

"If the two reconciled, Landis might drop a federal whistleblower lawsuit he filed against Armstrong under the False Claims Act - a suit the federal government has considered joining. At issue is whether Armstrong and others defrauded the U.S. Postal Service of around $30 million when it sponsored his team."

Any confession by Armstrong could have legal or financial ramifications, particularly among big-name corporate sponsors such as Nike that had stood by him even as doping allegations grew.

Since the International Cycling Union effectively erased him from the record books, Britain's The Sunday Times has sued Armstrong for more than $A1.6 million over a libel payment made to him in 2006.

It had paid Armstrong $A500,000 to settle a libel case after publishing a story suggesting he may have cheated, and now wants that money plus interest and legal costs repaid.

A Texas insurance company has also threatened legal action to recoup millions of dollars in bonuses it paid him for multiple Tour victories.

Armstrong's years of dominance in the sport's greatest race raised cycling's profile in the United States to new heights.

It also gave the Texan, diagnosed in 1996 with late-stage testicular cancer that had spread to his brain and lungs, a unique platform to promote cancer awareness and research.

The Lance Armstrong Foundation has raised almost $500 million since its creation in 1997.

In the wake of the allegations, several top sponsors dumped Armstrong and on November 14 the Livestrong Foundation dropped his name from the non-profit organisation he founded.

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