Lance Armstrong will be quizzed by Oprah Winfrey on January 17, 2013 in what is being described as a 90-minute "no-holds-barred" interview. Winfrey will ask the disgraced cycling star to address the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency's report in which there was overwhelming evidence that he was directly involved in the most sophisticated doping program the sport of cycling has ever seen. Armstrong was stripped of his seven Tour victories in October and speculation suggests he will come clean on Oprah's show.
The first question Oprah should ask - straight up - is whether he has ever taken performance enhancing drugs. Ok, so it's almost a non-question given the amount of evidence, but it's a chance to hear Armstrong confirm it for the first time. As The Guardian's William Fotheringham points out today, Oprah should also quiz Armstrong on the two substantial payments he made to the International Cycling Union during his racing career. Why did Armstrong make those payments? The interview will be streamed live around the world, as well as broadcast on Winfrey's OWN network in the U.S. It will air at 9pm eastern time, or 2am in the UK.
There is already discomfort surrounding Armstrong's choice of interviewer - Oprah is likely to give the cyclist an easy ride. Her interview with Olympic drugs cheat Marion Jones was hardly a grilling, and the majority probably sympathized with the doper afterwards. Kathy LeMond, the wife of the American Tour de France winner Greg LeMond tweeted, "Oprah I hope you get educated before the interview. I know people that can help you."
Of course, there is always the possibility that Armstrong will use the interview as a platform to further defend himself in the face of all available evidence. He also previously told a U.S court tribunal that he never used performance-enhancing drugs, meaning that he could perjure himself should be admit to doping during the Oprah interview.