NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — There were whispers that a confession could be coming. We may not have to wait much longer.
Lance Armstrong plans to admit to doping throughout his career during an upcoming interview with Oprah Winfrey, USA Today reported late Friday.
The interview, scheduled to be taped Monday and broadcast Thursday night on the Oprah Winfrey Network, will be conducted at Armstrong’s home in Austin, Texas. Armstrong says he will answer questions “directly, honestly and candidly.”
Citing an anonymous source, USA Today reported that the disgraced cyclist plans to admit using performance-enhancing drugs, but likely will not get into details of the allegations outlined in a 2012 report by the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency that led to Armstrong being stripped of his seven Tour de France titles and banned for life from the sport.
Armstrong representatives declined comment, including his attorney Tim Herman. The New York Times first reported last week that Armstrong was considering making a confession.
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The 41-year-old Armstrong, who vehemently denied doping for years, has not spoken publicly about the USADA report that cast him as the leader of a sophisticated and brazen doping program on his U.S. Postal Service teams that included use of steroids, blood boosters and illegal blood transfusions.
Winfrey’s network announced Tuesday that Armstrong agreed to a “no holds barred” interview with her.
A confession to Winfrey would come at a time when some of Armstrong’s legal troubles appear to be clearing up.
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 have passed the statute of limitations.
Armstrong faces a whistle-blower lawsuit filed by former teammate Floyd Landis accusing him of defrauding the U.S. Postal Service, but the U.S. Department of Justice has yet to announce if it will join the case. The British newspaper The Sunday Times is suing Armstrong to recover about $500,000 it paid him to settle a libel lawsuit.
Armstrong lost most of his personal sponsorship – worth tens of millions of dollars – after USADA issued its report and he left the board of the Livestrong cancer-fighting charity he founded in 1997. He is still said to be worth an estimated $100 million.
Livestrong might be one reason to issue an apology or make a confession. The charity supports cancer patients and still faces an image problem because of its association with its famous founder.
He may also be hoping a confession would allow him to return to competition in the elite triathlon or running events he participated in after his cycling career. But World Anti-Doping Code rules state his lifetime ban cannot be reduced to less than eight years. WADA and U.S. Anti-Doping officials could agree to reduce the ban further depending on what new information Armstrong provides and his level of cooperation. USADA chief Travis Tygart did not return a call Saturday from the AP.
Armstrong met with USADA officials recently to explore a “pathway to redemption,” according to a report by “60 Minutes Sports” aired Wednesday on Showtime.
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