Oprah to interview Lance Armstrong
LOS ANGELES — Lance Armstrong has agreed to a tell-all interview with Oprah Winfrey where he will address allegations that he used performance-enhancing drugs during his cycling career.
According to a release posted on Oprah's website on Tuesday, it's the first interview with Armstrong since his athletic career crumbled under the weight of a massive report by USADA detailing allegations of drug use by the famous cyclist and teammates on his U.S. Postal Service teams.
It's unclear if the interview at Armstrong's home in Austin, Texas, has already been taped. Nicole Nichols, a spokeswoman for Oprah Winfrey Network & Harpo Studios, declined comment.
The show will air at 8 p.m. on Jan. 17 on OWN and Oprah.com.
Armstrong has strongly denied the doping charges that led to him being stripped of his seven Tour de France titles, but The New York Times reported Friday he has told associates he is considering admitting the use of PEDS.
The newspaper report cited anonymous sources, and Armstrong attorney Tim Herman told The Associated Press that night that he had no knowledge of Armstrong considering a confession.
Earlier Tuesday, "60 Minutes Sports" reported the head of the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency told the show a representative for Armstrong offered the agency a "donation" in excess of $150,000 several years before an investigation by the organization led to the loss of Armstrong's Tour de France titles.
In an interview for the premiere airing on Showtime tonight, USADA CEO Travis Tygart said he was "stunned" when he received the offer in 2004.
Herman denied such an offer was made.
"No truth to that story," Herman wrote Tuesday in an email to the AP. "First Lance heard of it was today. He never made any such contribution or suggestion."
The New York Times reported last week that the 41-year-old Armstrong may be considering a confession in an attempt to reduce his lifetime ban from cycling and Olympic sport so he can return to competing in triathlons and elite running events.
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 worth about a reported $100 million.
Livestrong might be one reason to issue an apology. The charity supports cancer patients and still faces an image problem because of its association with its famous founder.
Another might be that the U.S. Department of Justice is considering whether to join a federal whistle-blower lawsuit filed by former Armstrong teammate Floyd Landis alleging fraud against the U.S. Postal Service during the years the agency sponsored Armstrong's teams.
A Dallas-based promotions company has also said it wants to recover several million dollars paid to Armstrong in bonuses for winning the Tour de France. And the British newspaper The Sunday Times is suing to recover about $500,000 paid to Armstrong to settle a libel lawsuit.
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