Discredited cycling champion Lance Armstrong reportedly will tape an interview with Oprah Winfrey in Texas on Monday and "give a limited confession to Winfrey and will not provide details of the doping that antidoping officials have said occurred throughout his cycling career," reports the New York Times reporter who got the scoop last weekend that Armstrong was considering changing his tune. For more than a dozen years, Armstrong has denied in combative terms that he ever used banned drugs while he was riding. The interview would be shown Thursday on the Oprah Winfrey Network.
Last fall, after 11 of his former teammates had testified against him, he was stripped of his seven Tour de France titles for doping and for his involvement in what officials called the most sophisticated, organized and professional doping program in sports history.
Armstrong is coming forward to discuss his past doping because he wants to persuade officials to lift his lifetime ban from Olympic sports so he can return to competing in triathlons and running events, according to people with knowledge of his plans.
Last month, Armstrong met with Travis Tygart, chief executive of the United States Anti-Doping Agency, to begin discussing a way in which an admission from Armstrong could mitigate his punishment. Under the World Anti-Doping Code, athletes can receive up to a 75 percent reduction of a ban if they provide substantial assistance to antidoping authorities in building cases against other cheats. For his ban to be reduced, though, Armstrong will have to give information about the people who helped him in his doping.
If Armstrong does confess, he is opening himself to more legal troubles than he has now. He has been named as a defendant in a federal whistle-blower case that contends that Armstrong and his associates on the United States Postal Service cycling team used taxpayer dollars to finance a systematic doping program. The government is considering joining that case as a plaintiff.
Last week: Lance Armstrong reportedly may do the mea culpa