Lance Armstrong To Address Doping Scandal On Oprah

lance armstrong_2011
by Greg Heakes

LOS ANGELES, Jan 8, 2013 (AFP) – The disgraced cyclist Lance Armstrong will
discuss the doping scandal that dramatically brought down his cycling career
during an interview with Oprah Winfrey next week, it was announced Tuesday.

The famed talk show host said that a 90-minute special show would address
“years of accusations of cheating, and charges of lying about the use of
performance-enhancing drugs” throughout Armstrong’s “storied cycling career.”

The interview will be Armstrong’s first since being stripped of his seven
Tour de France titles last year and will air on the Oprah Winfrey Network. It
will also be streamed live on her website, a publicity statement said.

Last week The New York Times reported that Armstrong, 41, was considering
publicly admitting that he used banned performance-enhancing drugs, in an
apparent bid to return to competitive sport in marathons and triathlons.

“Looking forward to this conversation with @lancearmstrong,” Winfrey posted
on her Twitter site Tuesday. Armstrong re-tweeted the comment 15 minutes later.

In the interview, to be shown in a primetime slot next Thursday, January
17, Winfrey will speak with Armstrong at his home in Austin, Texas.

Armstrong has vehemently denied doping. It is not known if Armstrong will
admit to doping on Winfrey’s show. The show used words like “alleged doping
scandal,” “accusations of cheating” and “charges of lying” in its publicity
statement.

The announcement came on the same day that “60 Minutes” said US Anti-Doping
Agency chief executive Travis Tygart told them in an interview to be aired
Wednesday that Armstrong attempted to donate around $250,000 to the agency.

Tygart said he was bowled over by the “totally inappropriate” donation
offer from one of Armstrong’s representatives in 2004, which he immediately
refused.

“I was stunned,” Tygart said in the interview. “It was a clear conflict of
interest for USADA. We had no hesitation in rejecting that offer.”

Asked if the offer was in the range of $250,000, Tygart said: “It was in
that ballpark.”

Tygart, who described Armstrong’s heavy-handed tactics as being similar to
the “Mafia”, denounced a $100,000 donation Armstrong made previously to the
International Cycling Union (UCI).

But Armstrong’s lawyer, Tim Herman, told USA Today on Tuesday that there
was never a donation attempt from the cyclist.

“No truth to that story,” Herman told the newspaper. “First Lance heard of
it was today. He never made any such contribution or suggestion.”

USADA stripped Armstrong of his Tour de France titles and slapped him with
a lifetime ban in October after releasing a damning report that said he helped
orchestrate the most sophisticated doping program in the history of the sport.

The UCI effectively erased Armstrong from the cycling history books when it
decided not to appeal sanctions imposed on Armstrong by USADA.

The massive report by USADA included hundreds of pages of eyewitness
testimony, emails, financial records and laboratory analysis of blood samples.

“We have an obligation to clean athletes and the future of the sport. This
was a fight for the soul of the sport,” Tygart said.

US federal officials investigated Armstrong and his cycling team for two
years but failed to charge him.

The decision not to charge Armstrong stunned Tygart. He was also upset when
the US Justice Department refused to share the results of their probe with him.

Asked why he thought the Justice Department refused to bring charges,
Tygart said: “It’s a good question, and one that if you finally answer, let me
know.”

Tygart said Armstrong and his secretive inner circle of doctors, coaches
and cyclists acted like “mafia” the way they intimidated cyclists into using
performance-enhancing drugs.

“It is our job… to protect clean athletes. There are victims of doping,”
Tygart said.

Late last year, cancer survivor Armstrong resigned as chairman of the
Livestrong foundation he created.

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