Lance Armstrong plans to admit to doping during his upcoming televised interview with Oprah Winfrey next week, a source says.
News of Armstrong’s intentions comes via an anonymous source cited by USA Today Sports.
The outlet said that the individual has knowledge of the situation but spoke on the condition of anonymity as they were not authorized to talk publicly.
The disgraced former cyclist has adamantly denied doping allegations for over a decade. However, The Associated Press reports that Armstrong sent a text message to them early on Saturday, which read:
“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 interview, which will be recorded on Monday and broadcast this Thursday on the Oprah Winfrey Network, will take place at Armstrong’s home in Austin, Texas.
While Oprah’s network have publicly said the interview will be “no holds barred,” it’s thought that Armstrong will only admit to using performance-enhancing drugs but will not be specifically addressing the allegations outlined in an October 2012 report by the US Anti-Doping Agency (USADA).
That report alleged Armstrong headed a far-reaching doping program on his US Postal Service teams, and led to him being stripped of his seven Tour de France titles, a lifetime ban from cycling, and all events sanctioned by the US Anti-Doping Agency and the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA).
On January 4, the News York Times ran an article that claimed Armstrong had told associates that he was considering admitting to using performance-enhancing drugs.
Armstrong’s attorney, Tim Herman, later denied the story and said he had no knowledge that Armstrong had made any such decision, adding that his client had not contacted the USADA chief executive, Travis Tygart, and WADA director general, David Howman.
In the event that Armstrong does admit to doping, he will not face perjury charges related to his sworn testimony denying doping in a 2005 arbitration dispute with a Dallas promotions company over a $7.5 million bonus as the statute of limitations has passed, said The Guardian.
A winner of the Tour de France between 1999-2005, the former cyclist became an inspirational hero for milllions after he fought and survived testicular cancer that also affected his lungs and brain.
Following USADA’s report, Armstrong’s career was effectively decimated. Corporate sponsors left in droves and he recently stepped down from the board of Livestrong — the cancer charity he founded in 1997.
In addition, an ongoing federal whistle-blower lawsuit filed by former Armstrong teammate Floyd Landis may be joined by the US Justice Department who are currently mulling that decision.
The 41-year-old ex-champion is also facing a Sunday Times lawsuit to recover the $500,000 the news group paid him to settle a libel action.
It’s thought that Armstrong’s intention to confess is part of a bid to return to competition in triathlon [elite] or running events, despite World Anti-Doping Code rules that state his lifetime ban cannot be reduced to less than eight years.
A frank interview with Winfrey could provide incentive to WADA and USADA — who are also investigating whether the International Cycling Union (UCI) might have aided Armstrong — to reduce the ban, USA Today Sports reports.
Armstrong recently met with USADA doping officials to explore a “pathway to redemption,” according to a report by 60 Minutes Sports that aired on Wednesday.
As yet, Armstrong’s attorney has not responded to media requests for comment.