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Winfrey confirms Armstrong's confession to doping

The SportsXchange

Cycling champion Lance Armstrong acknowledged to Oprah Winfrey in an interview Monday that he took performance-enhancing drugs, she told CBS This Morning on Tuesday.

Armstrong had denied for years the allegations that linked him to doping during his run of seven Tour de France victories that elevated him to fame. He fought allegations against him over the years in court and attacked his critics and teammates.

Winfrey said Armstrong, 41, was forthcoming in the 2 1/2 hour interview at a hotel in Austin, Texas, where Armstrong lives.

"A couple of times he was emotional. 'Emotional' doesn't begin to describe the intensity or difficulty (for Armstrong) in talking about these things," Winfrey said on CBS This Morning. "All these people wondering if he goes there and answers things. ... I think you will come away, too, that he brought it. He really did."

Winfrey said Armstrong was prepared and that she asked most of her 112 questions.

"I would say he did not come clean in the manner I expected," Winfrey told CBS. "It was surprising to me ... for myself, my team, all of us in the room, We were mesmerized and riveted by some of his answers. .. He was ready. ... I can only say I was satisfied by the answers."

Winfrey's interview with Armstrong originally was scheduled to air on her cable network at 9 p.m. ET Thursday, but because of the length of the conversation, she said Tuesday that it will broken into two separate segments and broadcast over two nights.

Winfrey was surprised that Armstrong reversed course and decided to admit he used PEDs. She had not planned to discuss the interview publicly before it aired Thursday, but numerous reports had emerged Monday of Armstrong's confession.

"By the time I left Austin and landed in Chicago, you all had already confirmed it," she said.

Last year, Armstrong was stripped of his Tour de France titles, won from 1999 to 2005, after the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency released a report that included testimony from former teammates.

On Monday before the interview, Armstrong choked up as he apologized to staff members at Livstrong, the charity he started in 1997, but never admitted to them that he used performance-enhancing drugs.

In the interview with Winfrey, Armstrong indicated that he started using the performance enhancers in the 1990s, before he was diagnosed with testicular cancer in 1996 that later spread to his lungs and brain, USA Today reported.

Other details of the interview were not available because of a confidentiality agreeement between Winfrey and Armstrong.

Armstrong could be facing lawsuits after his admission, according to several reports. The Sunday Times of London has sued to recover about $500,000 it paid him to settle a libel case. A Dallas-based promotions company also is considering a suit. Former teammate Floyd Landis, stripped of his 2006 Tour de France title for doping, has filed a federal whistle-blower lawsuit.

On Tuesday, the International Cycling Union encouraged Armstrong to testify before its commission on doping.

"if these reports are true, we would strongly urge Lance Armstrong to testify to the independent commission established to investigate the allegations made against the UCI in the recent USADA reasoned decision on Lance Armstrong and the United States Postal Service team," the ICU said in a statement.
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