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Armstrong “admits doping to Oprah” reports USA Today

USA Today has reported that Lance Armstrong confessed his doping past to Oprah Winfrey in an interview recorded yesterday and due to be broadcast on Thursday (17).

The newspaper quotes a source “familiar with the interview” whom it claims disclosed that Armstrong admitted to the chat show host that his use of performance-enhancing drugs began before he was diagnosed with cancer in 1996.

Winfrey Tweeted: “Just wrapped with @lancearmstrong More than 2 1/2 hours . He came READY!”

Betsy Andreu, the wife of Armstrong’s former teammate, Frankie, will appear on Good Morning America tomorrow. The Andreaus testified separately to USADA that Armstrong had admitted to using performance enhancing drugs to doctors in an Indianapolis hospital room in which they were present after being treated for cancer.

Armstrong is also said to be ready to meet with the US Anti-Doping Agency, whose 1,000 page ‘reasoned decision’ dossier branded him a “serial cheat” and concluded that his US Postal team he had operated “the most sophisticated, professionalized and successful doping program that sport has ever seen”.

USADA banned Armstrong for life from competitive sport last August. The UCI, responding to USADA’s evidence, stripped the Texan of his seven Tour de France titles last October.

Armstrong apologised yesterday to staff at his Livestrong Foundation, which supports people with cancer. He stepped down from its board last November.

Livestrong Foundation spokeswoman, Katherine McLane, told Reuters yesterday that the disgraced cyclist had offered a “sincere and heartfelt expression of regret: for stress suffered as the result of “media attention”.

Armstrong is facing multi-million dollar lawsuits from The Sunday Times, from whom he obtained an out-of-court settlement in 2004 in a libel dispute, and from the SCA, who insured his win bonuses, and who paid the Texan $5m, plus $2.5m costs, after Armstrong won an arbitration dispute in 2005 by denying he had doped.

It is understood that an expiry of the statute of limitations will prevent Armstrong from being jailed for his perjury.

The Wall Street Journal reported today that the US Justice Department has recommended joining a ‘whistleblower’ agreement brought by Floyd Landis to recover money invested by the taxpayer in the US Postal Service cycling team.

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