New York: Lance Armstrong will make a limited confession to doping during his televised interview with Oprah Winfrey this week.
The disgraced cyclist, who has long denied doping, will also offer an apology during the interview scheduled to be recorded on Monday night at his home in Austin, Texas, according to an anonymous source.
While not directly saying he would confess or apologise, Armstrong sent a text message to the Associated Press on Saturday saying: “I told her [Winfrey] to go wherever she wants and I’ll answer the questions directly, honestly and candidly. That’s all I can say.”
Meanwhile, the Sunday Times has placed an advertisement in Sunday’s Chicago Tribune in the form of an open letter from the newspaper’s chief sports writer, David Walsh, a long-standing critic of Armstrong. It lists 10 questions Oprah should ask Armstrong and includes: “Did you sue The Sunday Times to shut us up?” In December the News International title said it would sue the Texan for £1.5 million (Dh8.8 million) after paying out a £300,000 libel claim by Armstrong in 2006.
USA Today, citing an anonymous source, reported that Armstrong plans to admit using performance-enhancing drugs but is unlikely to reveal details of the allegations outlined in a 2012 report by the US Anti-Doping Agency (Usada). That report led to Armstrong being stripped of his seven Tour de France titles and banned for life from the sport. Armstrong’s representatives declined to comment.
The New York Times reported last week that Armstrong was considering making a confession. The 41-year-old, who denied doping for years, has not spoken publicly about the Usada report. That cast him as the leader of a sophisticated and brazen doping programme on his US Postal Service teams that included use of steroids, blood boosters and illegal blood transfusions.
Winfrey’s network said that Armstrong had agreed to a “no holds barred” interview. A confession to Winfrey would come at a time when Armstrong’s legal troubles appear to be easing. Any potential perjury charges stemming from his sworn testimony denying doping in a 2005 arbitration fight with a Dallas promotions company over a contract bonus worth $7.5 million (Dh27.55 million) would fall foul of the statute of limitations.
Armstrong faces a whistle-blower lawsuit filed by his former teammate Floyd Landis, which accuses him of defrauding the US Postal Service, but the US Justice Department has yet to say if it will join the case.