Lance Armstrong apologized to the staff at his Livestrong cancer foundation -- but did not make a direct confession to using banned drugs -- before heading to his scheduled interview with Oprah Winfrey on Monday, a person with direct knowledge of the meeting told Associated Press.
The source said the disgraced cyclist said “I’m sorry” for letting the organization down and putting it at risk, adding that he intended to restore the foundation’s reputation and urged the employees to move forward in helping cancer patients and their families.
Armstrong reportedly choked up during the meeting and several staff members cried.
Still, the rider who was stripped of his seven Tour de France titles stopped short of confessing to the use of performance enhancing drugs. He is expected to make a limited confession to Winfrey about his alleged role leading a scheme to dominate the Tour with the aid of banned drugs, AP is reporting.
That interview, scheduled to be recorded Monday, was originally going to take place at Armstrong’s home but was apparently switched to a nearby hotel. Local and international news crews had staked out positions outside the Spanish-style villa before dawn and even accompanied the cyclist on part of a morning run.
Armstrong, who always has strongly denied having anything to do with performance enhancing drugs, has been portrayed in a U.S. Anti-Doping Agency report as a ruthless competitor, with agency chief Travis Tygart saying Armstrong once led “the most sophisticated, professionalized and successful doping program that sport has ever seen.”
The interview with Winfrey is scheduled to run on “Oprah’s Next Chapter” Thursday at 9 p.m. EST/PST on the Oprah Winfrey Network.