Lance Armstrong confessed to doping throughout his extraordinary cycling career during an interview with Oprah Winfrey, taped on Monday (January 14, 2013). Though the interview will not be aired until Thursday, sources told the Associated Press that the seven time Tour-de-France winner admitting using performance-enhancing drugs when questioned by the Queen of Daytime Television.
The confession came a couple of hours after Armstrong had issued an emotional apology to staff at the Livestrong charity that he founded. An insider on the show spoke on the condition of complete anonymity, though revealed that Armstrong - as expected - came clean about his drug taking after years of denials. For more than a decade, the cyclist has mocked anybody who dared challenge his version of events, even suing various newspapers including The Sunday Times for drugs allegations and insisting - under oath - that he had not taken performance enhancing drugs. However, his critics swiftly stepped up their hunt for the truth in recent years and various books, including Tyler Hamilton's excellent The Secret Race: Inside the Hidden World of the Tour de France: Doping, Cover-ups, and Winning at All Costs implicated Armstrong in the widespread drug taking in the peloton.
The cyclist was stripped of his Tour de France titles, lost several major endorsements and was forced to leave Livestrong last year following the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency's damning report which accused him of masterminding a long-running doping scheme. Though severely tainted, Armstrong's career remains remarkable and movie studios are no doubt queuing up for the rights to an adaptation. He survived testicular cancer that had spread to his lungs and brains.
Betsy Andreu, the wife of Armstrong's former teammate Frankie Andreu, was one of the first people to publically accuse him of doping. On hearing of Armstrong's confession, she said, "He used to be one of my husband's best friends and because he wouldn't go along with the doping, he got kicked to the side. Lance could have a positive impact if he tells the truth on everything. He's got to be completely honest." It looks as though she may have gotten her wish.
With reports suggesting Armstrong is seeking to compete in Iron Man competitions, could he be set to rebuild his career in a way similar to Tiger Woods, who half-won back the public's support following a high profile cheating scandal?