AUSTIN, Texas (AP) —A person familiar with the situation says Lance Armstrong confessed to Oprah Winfrey during an interview Monday that he used performance-enhancing drugs to win the Tour de France.
The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the interview is to be broadcast Thursday on Winfrey’s network.
Armstrong was stripped of all seven Tour titles last year in the wake of a voluminous U.S. Anti-Doping Agency report that portrayed him as a ruthless competitor, willing to go to any lengths to win the prestigious race. USADA chief executive Travis Tygart labeled the doping regimen allegedly carried out by the U.S. Postal Service team that Armstrong once led, “The most sophisticated, professionalized and successful doping program that sport has ever seen.”
After a federal investigation of the cyclist was dropped without charges being brought last year, USADA stepped in with an investigation of its own. The agency deposed 11 former teammates and accused Armstrong of masterminding a complex and brazen drug program that included steroids, blood boosters and a range of other performance-enhancers.
Earlier Monday, Armstrong reportedly apologized to the staff at his Livestrong cancer foundation, before heading to the Winfrey interview.
The person spoke on condition of anonymity to The Associated Press because the discussion was private.
Armstrong addressed the staff Monday and said, “I’m sorry.” The person said the disgraced cyclist choked up and several employees cried during the session.
The person also said Armstrong apologized for letting the staff down and putting Livestrong at risk but he did not make a direct confession to the group about using banned drugs. He said he would try to restore the foundation’s reputation.
Armstrong urged the group to continue fighting for the charity’s mission of helping cancer patients and their families. After the meeting, Armstrong, his legal team and close advisers gathered at a downtown Austin hotel for the interview.
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