USMagazine, Tuesday, January 15, 2013, 6:00am (PST)
Months after swearing in testimony that he was innocent of doping charges leveled against him by the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency and the World Anti-Doping Agency, Lance Armstrong has reportedly confessed to Oprah Winfrey that he used performance-enhancing drugs to win the Tour de France, a source familiar with the situation told the Associated Press. The Oprah's Next Chapter interview is scheduled to be broadcast on Thursday, Jan. 17, on OWN.
According to the AP, the famed cyclist issued an "emotional" apology to his staff prior to the sit-down with Winfrey on Monday, Jan. 14. Among those present were around 100 staffers for Livestrong, the cancer support charity Armstrong founded after his battle with testicular cancer.
Last fall, officials released a massive file of doping charges and detailed evidence against the 41-year-old athlete. As a result, he was stripped of his seven Tour de France titles and barred for life from competing in all sports sanctioned by the U.S. and World Anti-Doping Agencies.
Armstrong swore at the time that he was innocent, but rumors surfaced earlier this month that he wanted to come clean, reportedly because he hoped to appeal his lifetime ban and resume his athletic career. According to the World Anti-Doping Code, a punishment may be reduced if the offending party makes a full confession about the extent and details of his use of performance-enhancing drugs.
Another big part of Armstrong's motivation for confessing, a source told USA Today, was the reputation of Livestrong, which has suffered under the weight of the controversy surrounding its founder's cycling career.
Appearing on CBS This Morning Jan. 15, Winfrey, 58, called her chat with Armstrong "the biggest interview I've ever done."
"I would say he didn't come clean in the manner I expected," she added. The TV mogul -- who prepared 112 questions for her interview with Armstrong -- said she was "riveted by some of his answers" but shared no specific details from the interview.
Said Winfrey, "He was just ready. . . He had certainly prepared himself for this moment."