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Cycling: Lance Armstrong’s Oprah interview is awaited with bated breath

  • by MATT McGEEHAN
 

The fallout from Lance Armstrong’s expected doping confession is already being considered as the sporting world awaits the broadcast of the disgraced cyclist’s interview with Oprah Winfrey.

Talk show host Winfrey has revealed Armstrong did come clean over his past, which saw him stripped of his seven Tour de France titles and banned for life, in their interview in his home city of Austin, Texas, on Monday. The United States Anti-Doping Agency found the 41-year-old had been at the heart of “the most sophisticated, professionalised and successful doping programme that sport has ever seen”.

The World Anti-Doping Agency and the UCI, cycling’s world governing body, have urged Armstrong to reveal all to the authorities if he is to have any hope of lifting his life ban.

The International Olympic Committee, meanwhile, is among those waiting for the interview to be broadcast before considering whether to demand that Armstrong returns the bronze medal he won in the road time-trial at the 2000 Games in Sydney.

In December, the IOC postponed a decision on whether to strip Armstrong of the medal because it had to wait until the UCI had declared all his results ineligible. If Armstrong does make a full confession in the interview, the IOC will ask for the medal to be returned.

IOC communications director Mark Adams said: “From our side, clearly, if he admits he cheated, then we will be asking for the medal back as we would with any athlete.”

Adams also claimed it was “premature” to even consider cycling’s future in the Olympics. IOC member Dick Pound, a former head of the World Anti-Doping Agency, claimed cycling might have to be dropped from the Olympics if Armstrong implicated the UCI in a cover-up of his systematic doping.

The two-and-a-half-hour interview, brokered between Armstrong and Winfrey over lunch in Hawaii, where both have homes, during the Festive season, is to be broadcast over two nights this week. The motives for an admission – as revealed by Winfrey – are unclear, but the Texan, who retired from cycling for a second time in 2010, was competing in triathlons until he was banned last year.

In the last week, Armstrong has been apologising to prominent figures in his sporting life and the Livestrong Foundation, the charity he established, confirmed he had paid it a visit.

The first part of the interview will be shown on the “Oprah” show at 9pm local time tomorrow (2am GMT on Friday), with the second to follow 24 hours later.

 

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