Oprah Interview with Lance Armstrong to Air January 17
By Steve Almasy
(CNN) — Lance Armstrong will give his first television interview since being stripped of his Tour de France titles to Oprah Winfrey, her network announced Tuesday.
A news release from the Oprah Winfrey Network said the 90-minute “no-holds-barred” interview will air at 9 p.m. ET January 17 and will be simulcast on Oprah.com.
Winfrey will ask the disgraced cycling star to address the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency’s report, which said there was overwhelming evidence he was directly involved in a sophisticated doping program, the statement said.
The International Cycling Union, which choose not to appeal the USADA’s lifetime ban, stripped Armstrong of his record seven Tour victories in October.
The World Anti-Doping Agency also agreed with the sanctions, which means Armstrong may not compete in sports governed by WADA code.
Before the ban, he was competing in Ironman triathlons and had won two of the five events he had entered.
According to his Twitter feed, Armstrong has been biking, running and swimming in Hawaii. The Winfrey interview will take place at Armstrong’s home in Austin, Texas.
The New York Times reported last week that Armstrong, 41, was contemplating publicly admitting he used illegal performance-enhancing drugs. Such an admission might lead toward Armstrong regaining his eligibility.
One of his attorneys denied Armstrong was in discussion with the two anti-doping agencies.
Attorney Tim Herman, in a recent e-mail to CNN Sports, did not address whether Armstrong told associates — as reported by the newspaper — that he was considering an admission.
Armstrong has repeatedly and vehemently denied that he used banned performance-enhancing drugs as well as illegal blood transfusions during his cycling career.
In the past, Armstrong has argued that he took more than 500 drug tests and never failed. In its 202-page report that detailed Armstrong’s alleged use of performance-enhancing drugs and blood transfusions, the USADA said it had tested Armstrong less than 60 times and the International Cycling Union conducted about 215 tests.
The agency did not say that Armstrong ever failed a test, but his former teammates testified as to how they beat tests or avoided the tests altogether.
The New York Times, citing unnamed associates and anti-doping officials, said Armstrong has been in discussions with USADA officials and hopes to meet with David Howman, chief of the World Anti-Doping Agency. The newspaper said none of the people with knowledge of Armstrong’s situation wanted to be identified because it would jeopardize their access to information on the matter.
Under World Anti-Doping Agency rules, an athlete who confesses to using performance-enhancing drugs may be eligible for a reinstatement.
Armstrong has been an icon for his cycling feats and celebrity, bringing more status to a sport wildly popular in some nations but lacking big-name recognition, big money and mass appeal in the United States.
He fought back from testicular cancer to win the Tour from 1999 to 2005. He raised millions via his Lance Armstrong Foundation to help cancer victims and survivors, an effort illustrated by trendy yellow “LiveSTRONG” wristbands that helped bring in the money.
But Armstrong has long been dogged by doping allegations, with compatriot Floyd Landis — who was stripped of his 2006 Tour de France title after failing a drug test — making a series of claims in 2011.
Armstrong sued the USADA last year to stop its investigation of him, arguing it did not have the right to prosecute him. But after a federal judge dismissed the case, Armstrong said he would no longer participate in the investigation.
In October 2012, Armstrong was stripped of his titles and banned from cycling. Weeks later, he stepped down from the board of his foundation, Livestrong.
It is unclear whether Armstrong would face criminal prosecution for perjury should he confess. Armstrong was involved in several cases where he gave sworn testimony that he never used banned drugs.
CNN’s Jillian Martin and Chelsea J. Carter contributed to this report.