Lance Armstrong will confess in Oprah interview
AUSTIN, Texas — Lance Armstrong will make a limited confession to doping during a televised interview with Oprah Winfrey this week, according to a person with knowledge of the situation.
Armstrong, who has long denied doping, will also offer an apology during the interview, which is scheduled to be taped Monday at his home in Austin.
While not directly saying he would confess or apologize, Armstrong sent a text message to the Associated Press early Saturday that said: ‘‘I told her [Winfrey] to go wherever she wants and I'll answer the questions directly, honestly and candidly. That’s all I can say.’’
The 41-year-old Armstrong has not spoken publicly about the US Anti-Doping Agency report last year that cast him as the leader of a sophisticated and brazen doping program on his US Postal Service cycling teams that included use of steroids, blood boosters, and illegal blood transfusions.
The USADA report led to Armstrong being stripped of his seven Tour de France titles and given a lifetime ban from the sport.
Several outlets had reported that Armstrong was considering a confession. The interview will be broadcast Thursday on the Oprah Winfrey Network and oprah.com.
A confession would come at a time when Armstrong is still facing some legal troubles.
Armstrong faces a federal whistle-blower lawsuit filed by former teammate Floyd Landis accusing him of defrauding the US Postal Service, but the Department of Justice has yet to announce whether it will join the case. The British newspaper The Sunday Times is suing Armstrong to recover about $500,000 it paid him to settle a libel lawsuit.
A Dallas-based promotions company has threatened to sue Armstrong to recover more than $7.5 million it paid him as a bonus for winning the Tour de France.
But the statute of limitations has expired on potential perjury charges stemming from his sworn testimony denying doping in a 2005 arbitration fight over the bonus payments.
Armstrong lost most of his personal sponsorship — worth tens of millions of dollars — after the USADA issued its report and he left the board of the Livestrong cancer-fighting charity he founded in 1997.
He is still said to be worth an estimated $100 million.
Livestrong might be one reason to make a confession. The charity supports cancer patients and still faces an image problem because of its association with its famous founder.
Armstrong could also be hoping a confession would allow him to return to competition in elite triathlon or running events, but World Anti-Doping Code rules state that his lifetime ban cannot be reduced to less than eight years. WADA and US Anti-Doping officials could reduce the ban depending on what new information Armstrong provides.
Armstrong met with USADA officials recently to explore a ‘‘pathway to redemption,’’ according to a report by ‘‘60 Minutes Sports.’’
Associated Press columnist Jim Litke contributed to this report.