With the many accomplished cycling journalists of many nationalities who have followed Lance Armstrong’s career, who better to get the first interview since his downfall than hard-hitting investigative reporter Oprah Winfrey.
With CNN’s Larry King retired now, I suppose Winfrey is the best choice for Armstrong to spin his story. He appears next Thursday on the Oprah Winfrey Network; the show will be simulcast at Oprah.com.
This past weekend, New York Times reporter Juliet Macur wrote that she learned from sources that Armstrong might be willing to cooperate with anti-doping authorities in hopes for a reduction in his lifetime ban from competition.
In spite of denying doping allegations for more than a decade, Armstrong declined last fall to challenge the evidence gathered by the US Anti-Doping Agency. The evidence included sworn testimony from such former teammates as George Hincapie, Christian Vande Velde and Levi Leipheimer who all admitted to taking performance enhancing drugs with Armstrong.
The last words of defense from Armstrong were, essentially, that he had never failed a doping test.
Now, Macur says that Armstrong has met with Travis Tygart of the USADA and David Howman of the World Anti-Doping Agency. Armstrong’s attorney Tim Herman has denied those reports. Cooperation with anti-doping officials might mean that he can return to the triathlon circuit, where he has been banned from competing.
Meanwhile, Tygart is beating Armstrong to the airwaves by appearing on a segment of a new sports program produced for Showtime by 60 Minutes. He alleges Armstrong offered the agency a gift of $250,000 about 7 or 8 years ago. The show airs at 10 p.m. Wednesday.
Armstrong’s appearance on the Oprah Winfrey’s network was announced in a press release this afternoon:
“Oprah Winfrey will speak exclusively with Lance Armstrong in his first no-holds-barred interview. Armstrong will address the alleged doping scandal, years of accusations of cheating, and charges of lying about the use of performance-enhancing drugs throughout his storied cycling career.
The special 90-minute Thursday night episode of Oprah’s Next Chapter will air Thursday, January 17(9:00 – 10:30 p.m. ET/PT) on OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network. In addition-the interview will be simultaneously streamed LIVE worldwide on Oprah.com.
“In the interview, Winfrey speaks with Armstrong at his home in Austin, Texas in the only interview since the seven-time Tour de France winner was stripped of his titles and dropped from millions of dollars in endorsement deals after the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency released an extensive report accusing the renown cyclist of doping throughout his career. Armstrong was given a lifetime ban on competing professionally. Late last year, Armstrong resigned as chairman of the foundation he created, Livestrong, which has raised hundreds of millions of dollars in the fight against cancer.”