Armstrong interview to air over two nights
CYCLING:American talk show host Oprah Winfrey has taken the decision to broadcast her much-anticipated interview with Lance Armstrong over two nights instead of one, saying yesterday that the scale of the two and a half hour question and answer session meant it was impossible to edit it down into one show.
The first interview will air at 9pm (2am Irish time) on Thursday evening with the second following 24 hours later. Winfrey spoke to CBS about the interview, which was filmed in a hotel in Austin, Texas, on Monday. She said that she prepared a total of 112 questions for Armstrong, and that she was “mesmerised and riveted by some of his answers”.
She also confirmed that he admitted to doping, although she said that he “did not come clean in the manner that I expected.” Winfrey did not explain what she meant by that comment.
It is however understood that he told her that he started doping prior to being diagnosed with testicular cancer in 1996, and that he continued using banned products after his return.
Meanwhile, cycling’s governing body the UCI has said that it will withhold its assessment of the situation until after the interview is screened on Thursday night.
However in a statement released yesterday, it said that once those reports are verified by the show’s broadcast, Armstrong should come forward with any evidence he has.
“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 UCI stated.
Cooperation by Armstrong with that enquiry could prove embarrassing for the UCI, however, as the New York Times yesterday reported that the rider is prepared to testify against officials from that body.
The UCI has faced allegations in the past that it helped shield him from detection. In addition to reporting that he had decided to testify against those officials, the New York Times also said that it had been told that Armstrong was prepared to give evidence against some of the owners of the US Postal Service team.