Lance Armstrong’s interview with Oprah Winfrey, in which he is expected to deliver a confession to using performance-enhancing methods to win the Tour de France seven times, is less than two hours away.
Armstrong, 41, sat down with Winfrey for 2 1/2 hours at a hotel near his home in Austin, Texas, on Monday, and Winfrey said she was “satisfied” with Armstrong’s responses to questions she said were exhaustively researched.
The interview will air on the Oprah Winfrey Network at 9 p.m. Eastern time, and can be seen at 6 p.m. Pacific on some satellite providers and streamed on Oprah.com
Armstrong has fiercely denied using performance-enhancing drugs like testosterone and the energy boosting substance EPO for more than a decade, citing hundreds of clean test results.
Yet, in 1996, a former teammate Frankie Andreu and his wife, Betsy, say they heard Armstrong confess to using performance-enhancing drugs in a conversation with cancer doctors in Indiana.
Armstrong, according to past associates, successfully crafted a wall of silence around him despite revelations in books about his deceit, such as “L.A. Confidentiel,” and “From Lance to Landis.”
Finally, in October, the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency released a definitive tell-all report that included the accounts of 11 former Armstrong teammates, including Tyler Hamilton, Levi Leipheimer and Christian Vande Velde, who spoke of the culture of heavy doping, the sophistication in hiding from drug testers and the pressure on teammates to use banned substances.
Armstrong said that he would no longer fight USADA’s effort to ban him from competition for life and strip him of the seven Tour titles as a flood of sponsors, including Nike, stopped supporting him.
Earlier this month, the New York Times said he was considering a confession in an effort to return to competition in marathons and triathlons.
The World Anti-Doping Agency said Armstrong will need to make a complete confession and point out others involved in his years-long deception to be eligible for a return to competition.
Doing so might be risky for Armstrong, who could face a whistleblower lawsuit by the federal government for defrauding former team sponsor, the U.S. Postal Service. Armstrong also collected a $7.5 million settlement from a Dallas company after winning the 2004 Tour and testifying in court he did so cleanly.
The company might revisit that case.
Meanwhile, federal prosecutors in Los Angeles have declined to comment as well about the possibility of revisiting the grand jury investigation they closed last year into the culture of doping in cycling.
Among those Armstrong treated harshly in denying drug use in the past is former three-time Tour champion Greg LeMond and his wife, Kathy, who told The Times on Wednesday she will not be swayed by any admission that might invoke a request for forgiveness.
"There is no limit to what he would do to protect his secret," Kathy LeMond said, "and not one word could come out of his mouth that would convince me to change his opinion of who he really is.
The Times will provide continual updates during the interview here at Sports Now.