AUSTIN, Texas (CBS NEWS) -- Lance Armstrong confessed to
Oprah Winfrey during an interview Monday that he used
performance-enhancing drugs to win the Tour de France, Winfrey confirmed
The admission -- made in an interview to be broadcast in two separate
installments starting Thursday on Winfrey's network -- was confirmed by
CBS News Monday. Winfrey appeared on "CBS This Morning" on Tuesday to
talk about the Armstrong interview, saying that both parties had agreed
not to speak publicly about it until the interview aired, but "by the
time I left Austin and landed in Chicago you all had already confirmed
Winfrey described Armstrong as "forthcoming" in the interview and while he "did not come clean in the manner that I expected," she said she was "satisfied by the answers."
The confession was a stunning reversal for Armstrong after years of
public statements, interviews and court battles in which he denied
doping and zealously protected his reputation.
Just hours before the revelation, Armstrong appeared at the cancer
charity he founded and tearfully apologized to the Livestrong charity
that he founded and turned into a global institution on the strength of
his celebrity as a cancer survivor.
Armstrong later huddled with almost a dozen people before stepping
into a room set up for the Winfrey interview at a downtown Austin hotel.
The group included close friends and advisers, two of his lawyers and
Bill Stapleton, his agent, manager and business partner. They exchanged
handshakes and smiles, but declined comment when approached by a
reporter. Most members of that group left the hotel through the front
entrance around 5 p.m., although Armstrong was not with them.
Winfrey and her crew had earlier said they would film the interview
at his home but the location apparently changed to a hotel. Local and
international news crews staked out positions in front of the cyclist's
Spanish-style villa before dawn, hoping to catch a glimpse of Winfrey or
Armstrong still managed to slip away for a run Monday morning despite
the crowds gathering outside his house. He returned home by cutting
through a neighbor's yard and hopping a fence.
During a jog on Sunday, Armstrong talked to the AP for a few minutes
saying, "I'm calm, I'm at ease and ready to speak candidly." He declined
to go into specifics.
Armstrong lost all seven Tour titles following 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."
In a recent "60 Minutes Sports" interview,
Tygart described Armstrong and his team of doctors, coaches and riders
as similar to a "Mafia" that kept their secret for years and intimidated
riders into silently following their illegal methods.
Armstrong looked like just another runner getting in his roadwork when
he talked to the AP, wearing a red jersey and black shorts, sunglasses
and a white baseball cap pulled down to his eyes. Leaning into a
reporter's car on the shoulder of a busy Austin road, he seemed unfazed
by the attention and the news crews that made stops at his home. He
cracked a few jokes about all the reporters vying for his attention,
then added, "but now I want to finish my run," and took off down the
Meanwhile, Armstrong is in talks to return a
portion of the millions of dollars in taxpayer money his former team,
U.S. Postal Service, once received, CBS News has learned.
Justice Department officials have recommended that the government join a
lawsuit filed by one of Armstrong's former teammates that accuses the
disgraced cyclist of defrauding the federal government. Armstrong's U.S.
Postal sponsorship prohibited illegal doping.
CBS News has also learned Armstrong has indicated he may be willing to testify against others involved in illegal doping.
Once all the information was out and his reputation shattered, Armstrong defiantly tweeted
a picture of himself on a couch at home with all seven of the yellow
leader's jerseys on display in frames behind him. But the preponderance
of evidence in the USADA report and pending legal challenges on several
fronts apparently forced him to change tactics after more a decade of
He still faces legal problems.
Former teammate Floyd Landis, who was stripped of the 2006 Tour de
France title for doping, has filed a federal whistle-blower lawsuit that
accused Armstrong of defrauding the U.S. Postal Service. The Justice
Department has yet to decide whether it will join the suit as a
The London-based Sunday Times also is suing
Armstrong to recover about $500,000 it paid him to settle a libel
lawsuit. On Sunday, the newspaper took out a full-page ad in the Chicago
Tribune, offering Winfrey suggestions for what questions to ask
Armstrong. Dallas-based SCA Promotions, which tried to deny Armstrong a
promised bonus for a Tour de France win, has threatened to bring yet
another lawsuit seeking to recover more than $7.5 million an arbitration
panel awarded the cyclist in that dispute.
most likely to be influenced by a confession might be the Sunday Times
case. Potential perjury charges stemming from Armstrong's sworn
testimony in the 2005 arbitration fight would not apply because of the
statute of limitations. Armstrong was not deposed during the federal
investigation that was closed last year.
Many of his
sponsors dropped Armstrong after the damning USADA report - at the cost
of tens of millions of dollars - and soon after, he left the board of
Livestrong, which he founded in 1997. Armstrong is still said to be
worth about $100 million.
Livestrong might be one reason
Armstrong has decided to come forward with an apology and limited
confession. The charity supports cancer patients and still faces an
image problem because of its association with Armstrong. He also may be
hoping a confession would allow him to return to competition in the
elite triathlon or running events he participated in after his cycling
World Anti-Doping Code rules state his lifetime
ban cannot be reduced to less than eight years. WADA and U.S.
Anti-Doping officials could agree to reduce the ban further depending on
what information Armstrong provides and his level of cooperation.