Oprah promises tough grilling of Lance Armstrong
Washington – Lance Armstrong will face a no-holds-barred interview with Oprah Winfrey, her cable TV network has promised, as speculation mounted that the cycling icon might finally confess to being a drug cheat.
“Armstrong has no editorial control and no question is off-limits,” Nicole Nichols of Winfrey’s OWN cable TV network told AFP in an email, adding that the disgraced cyclist is getting no payment for the interview.
Nichols also said the 90-minute interview at Armstrong’s home in Austin, Texas – to be aired January 17 on the OWN network and online worldwide – “is not live.”
Asked when it would be recorded, she replied: “We are not confirming any further details.”
It will be Armstrong’s first interview since he was stripped in October of his Tour de France titles after the US Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) said he helped orchestrate the most sophisticated doping program in cycling history.
Late Wednesday, USADA chief executive Travis Tygart described the sophistication of the doping scheme on “60 Minutes Sports” which included the use of untraceable cell phones, makeup to hide needle marks and an offer of a $250,000 donation from Armstrong to USADA in 2004.
Among the subjects touched on in the interview was that Armstrong had been tipped off by Martial Saugy, the director of a Swiss drug testing laboratory, about how to beat the EPO test.
“And I asked him ‘Did you give Lance Armstrong and Johan Bruyneel the keys to defeat the E.P.O. test?’ And he nodded his head yes,” Tygart said.
“As far as we are aware it is totally inappropriate to bring an athlete who had a suspicious test and explain to them how the test works.”
Last week, The New York Times reported that Armstrong (41) was considering publicly admitting he used banned performance-enhancing drugs, in an apparent bid to return to competitive sport in marathons and triathlons.
The 60 Minutes Sports episode included a tag at the end of the program, saying Armstrong had met recently with Tygart to explore the idea of a “pathway to redemption.”
“We were disappointed he (Armstrong) didn’t come in and be part of the solution,” Tygart said of Armstrong’s refusal to co-operate with the investigation. “It’s one of the lowest days of this investigation, quite honestly.”