Leaks from last night's Oprah interview with Lance Armstrong are all over the Internet (the interview is scheduled to air on Thursday). It seems Armstrong offered a limited admission to using to performance enhancing drugs (PEDs) during his career.
However, the bigger news is that he plans to testify against officials of the International Cycling Union, the governing body of professional cycling, about their involvement with doping in cycling, but he apparently will not testify against other riders.
Part of his motivation in testifying is that he is named in a whistle-blower lawsuit filed by Floyd Landis, a former teammate, who filed the case in 2010 against Armstrong and other principals of the Postal Service team (where he and Armstrong were teammates). Landis's lawsuit claims US Postal and Armstrong "defrauded the government because its riders used performance-enhancing drugs in violation of its sponsorship contract." Armstrong could be liable for millions of dollars in damages if the Justice Department decides to join the case (they are close to making a decision).
According to CBS News, Armstrong and possibly his longtime agent, Bill Stapleton, has offered to repay several millions of dollars of the more than $30 million the Postal Service spent sponsoring the team, as part of their cooperation as witnesses in the case, which would seem to be his way to avoid being named as a co-defendant in the lawsuit.
It seems Armstrong has met with the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) including its chief executive, Travis Tygart, to discuss what he needs to do to lessen the punishment against him so that he can compete in running and triathlon events from which he is banned under the ruling that stripped him of his racing titles.
Armstrong Admits Doping, and Says He Will Testify
By JULIET MACUR
Published: January 14, 2013
In an interview with Oprah Winfrey that is scheduled for broadcast on her network on Thursday, Lance Armstrong confessed that he used performance-enhancing drugs during his cycling career, according to two people briefed on the interview, which was recorded Monday in Austin, Tex.
It is unclear, though, how forthcoming Armstrong was about his doping program, which the United States Anti-Doping Agency has said was part of the most sophisticated, organized and professional doping scheme in the history of sports. Armstrong, when reached by e-mail Monday, said he could not discuss the interview.
Acknowledging his doping past has cleared the way for Armstrong to take the next step in trying to mitigate his lifetime ban from Olympic sports. He is planning to testify against several powerful people in the sport of cycling who knew about his doping and possibly facilitated it, said several people with knowledge of the situation.
Armstrong, 41, is planning to testify against officials from the International Cycling Union, the worldwide governing body of cycling, about their involvement with doping in cycling, but he will not testify against other riders, according to the people familiar with his plans.
He is also in discussions with the United States Department of Justice to possibly testify in a federal whistle-blower case. That case involves the cycling team sponsored by the United States Postal Service, and Armstrong would testify against several of the team’s owners, including the investment banker Thom Weisel, and other officials, one person close to the situation said. That person did not want his name published because the case is still open.
Floyd Landis, one of Armstrong’s former teammates, filed the whistle-blower case in 2010 against Armstrong and other principals of the Postal Service team on which he and Armstrong competed together for several years. Landis claimed the team defrauded the government because its riders used performance-enhancing drugs in violation of its sponsorship contract.
Now Armstrong and possibly his longtime agent, Bill Stapleton, are seeking to repay several millions of dollars of the more than $30 million the Postal Service spent sponsoring the team, as part of their cooperation as witnesses in the case, said the person with knowledge of the matter. (CBS News first reported Armstrong was in talks to return money to the Postal Service.) The Department of Justice is considering whether to join the case as a plaintiff and is close to making that decision, the person said.
Armstrong, who for more than a decade vehemently denied doping, would be willing to testify against the cycling union officials and his former team’s officials because he badly wants to compete in triathlons and running events again. Last fall, he was barred from many of those events because they are sanctioned by organizations that follow the World Anti-Doping Code, the rules under which he is serving his lifetime ban. Armstrong said that lifetime ban was unfair.
He met with United States Anti-Doping Agency officials, including Travis Tygart, the agency’s chief executive, last month to discuss what he needed to do to mitigate his ban. Several people with knowledge of the discussions said Tygart would be willing to reduce Armstrong’s punishment if Armstrong would testify against the people who helped him dope. That would possibly include Pat McQuaid, the president of the cycling union, and Hein Verbruggen, who was the cycling union’s president from 1991 to 2005, a time when doping in the sport was rampant. Verbruggen, who is close with the International Olympic Committee president, Jacques Rogge, is also the cycling union’s honorary president and an honorary member of the I.O.C.
David Howman, director general of the World Anti-Doping Agency, said in a telephone interview Monday that he would not believe that Armstrong would testify in other cases to help clean up the sport until it happens.
“This guy is an enigma and nobody really knows what he is going to do, no matter what he says,” Howman said. “I think he’s got his own demons to deal with, but nothing can be done about his lifetime ban when he hasn’t done anything to help us yet.”
Last fall the United States Anti-Doping Agency called Armstrong the kingpin of the doping program on his Tour de France winning teams when it made public evidence that he had doped and had encouraged his teammates to dope. During his interview with Winfrey, Armstrong rebutted the claim that he was a leader of the doping program, saying he just did what his teammates were doing, according to the two people who did not want their names published because they are not authorized to speak about the interview.
Before heading to the Winfrey interview in downtown Austin, Armstrong stopped at the headquarters of his cancer charity, Livestrong, and apologized to the staff. He told them he was sorry for letting everyone down and for putting so much stress on the organization because of his doping scandal.
He did not confess to using performance-enhancing drugs, but spoke for about 20 minutes in the organization’s boardroom, eliciting tears from some of the employees, said Rae Bazzarre, a spokeswoman for Livestrong.
“It was emotional and he choked up for a moment,” she said. “But we were all glad to see him.”
Armstrong had not been at the headquarters since Oct. 21, Bazzarre said, about two weeks before he resigned from Livestrong’s board of directors.
A version of this article appeared in print on January 15, 2013, on page B11 of the New York edition with the headline: Armstrong Will Implicate Officials.