Rachel Ray, in her
review of the Oprah Winfrey interview
, says that “Armstrong came
across as more clever and calculating than forthcoming” while reporting
that he had reportedly hired Mark Fabiani, the former White House special
counsel who advised President Clinton during the Monica Lewinsky affair.

07.15 Phil Liggett, the veteran voice of cycling, has been talking to
Sky Sports News from Adelaide where he is ahead of the Tour Down Under which
starts on Sunday when the new cycling season gets underway.

Liggett, who has been criticised by many for being an Armstrong apologist,
said that he was “a little bit disappointed” with the ‘news’ that
he doped while confirming what most of the cycling fraternity has known for
years: “it was not about the bike, it was about the drugs.”

The commentator, after watching Winfrey’s interview, said he now wanted to
know “who helped him” dope “throughout his entire career.”

When asked whether he thought Armstrong doped following his 2009 comeback –
when he produced an astonishing ride to finish third in the Tour de France
to deny Britain its first podium place in the race’s history after Bradley
Wiggins finished fourth – Liggett said that “it doesn’t quite all add
up.”

07.00

TwitterDavid Walsh, meanwhile, has said that despite Armstrong’s admission
that there are “too many questions not answered” while saying that “Betsy
Andreu will be disgusted” after he refused to admit to their infamous
converstaion in Indiana University Hospital. It was in Indiana where Betsy,
the wife of Armstrong’s former US Postal Service team-mate Frankie, claims
she heard him tell doctors that he had used performance-enhancing drugs
during before he was being treated for cancer.

Indeed, it would appear that Walsh has, once again, hit the nail firmly on its
head.

06.45

John Fahey, World Anti Doping Agency president, has
dismissed Armstrong’s claims that he was clean following his comeback

with the Astana team in 2009.

“The evidence from USADA is that Armstrong’s blood tests show variations
in his blood that show with absolute certainty he was doping after 2005,”
Fahey told Jacquelin
Magnay
. “Believe USADA or believe Armstrong? I know who to
believe.

“It struck me that the statute of limitations under US law might be
revelant and Armstrong would not want to admit to anything in regards to his
comeback (in 2009) that might be picked up under the US criminal code.”

06.30 Morning all. Thanks to Raf Sanchez over in Washington for
keeping us all updated throughout the early hours. So Lance Armstrong took
performance-enhancing drugs. Who would have thought it? Well, David Walsh
of the Sunday Times did and has been saying so for years. Walsh’s
initial reaction to the interview was positive …

Meanwhile, Judy James, a body language expert, has been on Sky Sports
News analysing Armstrong’s “amazing performance”. James concluded
that Armstrong showed “no signals of humility” and “negligible
amounts of emotion”.

Armstrong, said James, was “not a guy that looked particularly full of
regret” and appeared “arrogant even”.

05.55 I mentioned earlier that one of the most bitter episodes in this
whole tale came when Armstrong denounced Betsy Andreu, the wife of
his former team-mate who claimed she had heard him admit to doping while he
was being treated for cancer in an Indiana hospital.

Here he is in a 2005 deposition (where he’s under oath) adamantly denying that
episode ever took place and insisting that he never took
performance-enhancing drugs.

During tonight’s interview he seemed to signal again that the hospital
incident had never happened but clearly conceded the larger point: that he
had doped repeatedly.

05.45 Here’s Lance delving into the details of his doping:

05.30 Erik Wimple of the Washington Post paints the
interview as a
cold and cynical exercise by a desperate man
.

QuoteArmstrong needed this session with Winfrey more than even her somewhat
flailing cable network needed it. He needed it to pursue an adjustment of
his lifetime ban from the sports that he loves. He needed it to rehabilitate
his relationships. And he needed it to begin restoring his name, though that
is something of a fool’s errand.

Yet what the session proved is just how much tension a report exceeding
1,000 pages, with testimony from 26 people, can drain from a high-profile
interview. Armstrong could share little in the way of insight because that
report, delivered by the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency in October, delivered it
all, despite Armstrong’s most vicious and relentless attempts to prevent it
.

05.00 Our friends at NowThisNews
have cut some footage from the interview:

04.30 The USADA, America’s anti-doping agency, have put out this
statement:

QuoteTonight, Lance Armstrong finally acknowledged that his cycling career was
built on a powerful combination of doping and deceit.

His admission that he doped throughout his career is a small step in the
right direction. But if he is sincere in his desire to correct his past
mistakes, he will testify under oath about the full extent of his doping
activities

04.00 I’ve roped together a quick
summary of what you need to know
from that tear-free confessional.
Here’s a snippet

So, how big was the confession?

Pretty big. Armstrong admitted to doping during all seven of his Tour de
France victories, saying he used a “cocktail” of blood boosters,
blood transfusions and steroids. He conceded that he had been “a bully”
to team-mates, lied under oath, and repeatedly smeared people who stood up
against him. “I viewed this situation as one big lie,” he said.

Wow. Was there anything Oprah didn’t get out of him?

Quite a lot actually. He denied that he was at the centre of a sophisticated
network designed to conceal his doping, claiming that his own use of
performance enhancers was no greater than what others were doing. He also
denied ever issuing a “direct order” to members of the team that
he co-owned, instructing them to take up doping. He challenged details of
the accounts given by several of his accusers and said he had never bribed
cycling authorities to conceal positive tests.

03.36 Betsy Andreu, the wife of his former team-mate who accused him of
doping, is on CNN now. How did she feel hearing Armstrong once again claim
that her story wasn’t true? She cries as she answers:

QuoteThis was a guy who used to be my friend and who decimated me. He owes it
to me to come clean, he owed it to the sport.

03.35 And there we go, part one done. Tomorrow night: how he dealt with
his fans, sponsors and the cancer victims he claimed to be working for.

03.30 And now to the future: will you cooperate with authorities to
help clean up cycling?

If there was a truth and reconciliation commission, if they have it and I’m
invited I will be the first man through the door.

03.26 Lance says he “would give anything to go back to that day”
and not contest the effort by USADA, the antidoping agency, to take him down
for doping. If he could do it again he says he would have asked for a few
days to call family, supporters, sponsors to apologise and then he would
have held up his hands and admitted it.

03.25 He describes his relief when US federal prosecutors inexplicably
dropped charges against him February 2012:

03.15 One of the tipping points in Armstrong’s downfall were the
accusations from Floyd Landis, a former team-mate who won the Tour de France
only to be stripped of it after testing positive. Armstrong denied Landis’s
claims to the American media and even today says Landis was angry about
Armstrong’s comeback in 2009.

Lance believes that if he never made that comeback (he failed to win either of
his last Tours) then he would never have been caught.

03.12 He’s asked about the vicious things he said about Betsy Andreu,
the wife of a former team-mate who claimed to have heard Armstrong admit to
his cancer doctors that he had taken performance enhancing drugs. He says he
regrets calling her “crazy” and “a b—–” but is
quietly adamant that the episode in an Indiana hospital never happened.

He says he spoke to her and her husband for 40 minutes recently but says it
wasn’t enough to erase the hurt.

03.10 Wow.

03.00 And what about Emma O’Reilly, the Irish team masseuse who
exposed some of his early doping and who Lance accused of being an alcoholic
prostitute?

She’s one of these people that I have to apologise to. She’s one of these
people that got run over, got bullied.

02.57 Armstrong is being asked about a donation he made to the
International Cycling Union, the body that did some of the drug testing. Was
that donation a bribe for them to make positive results go away? Absolutely
not, says Lance.

02.55 I’d say this is a fair assessment of where the interview has gone
so far. But we still have some more tough questions about how he could
brazenly sue people who he knew were telling the truth.

02.53 Lance Armstrong is 41 years old and acknowledges he will be
remembered forever for this scandal.

I will spend the rest of my life trying to earn back trust and apologise
to people

02.50 Truly bizarre moment: Armstrong says he looked up the definition
of ‘cheater’ and satisfied himself that he didn’t qualify because he wasn’t
giving himself an unfair advantage (because everyone else was doping).

02.47 Oprah confronts him with a clip after his 2005 victory, where he
said he felt sorry for the cynics who didn’t believe that the Tour de France
was an honest race through hard work and determination. It was an
extraordinary act of deceit and hubris. He looks sheepish rather than
tormented by it.

That was the last time I won the Tour de France. That was what you leave
with? You can leave with better that, Lance. That was lame.

02.45 As you can imagine, Twitter is just eating this up:

Helpful tweeters are also suggesting #doprah

02.43 So why did you do it? Why the doping and why the incredible cover
up and defiance in the face of the truth?

I think just this ruthless desire to win, to win at all costs. It served
me well on the bike, it served me well during the disease but the level it
went to is a flaw.

02.40 We’re moving to softer stuff now. “I’m flawed, deeply flawed,”
he says as he describes himself as both a “a jerk” and “a
humanitarian”.

02.37 He’s being asked about Michele Ferrari, the Italian doctor
described by doping authorities as a maestro of professional drugging.
Armstrong defended him in the past but today admits the doctor was involved.

02.33 Armstrong deploys a pretty amazing metaphor as he describes how
commonplace doping was:

02.28 So the vibe of this thing. Oprah is being pretty firm with him,
belaying concerns that this was going to be all softball. Armstrong looks
well-prepared and grim-faced. He’s confessing to a lot of the facts around
the drug use but pushing back more against the idea that he was a monster
who destroyed the lives of people around him.

02.27 Lance is now denying that pressured other team members into
doping.

I was the leader of the team, the leader of any team leads by example and
there was never any direct order or directive that you have to do this.

But he admits there was “a level of expectation” that may have
pressured other riders into doping. He also agrees that he was “a bully”.

02.25 We’re in ad break. In the meantime here’s a little more
information on EPO or Erythropoietin,
the drug Armstrong just confessed to:

QuoteErythropoietin (pronounced, ah-rith-ro-poy-tin, and abbreviated, EPO) is a
relatively recent entry into the deceitful pursuit of glory. EPO is a
protein hormone produced by the kidney. After being released into the blood
stream it binds with receptors in the bone marrow, where it stimulates the
production of red blood cells (erythrocytes).

Medically, EPO is used to treat certain forms of anemia (e.g., due to
chronic kidney failure). Logically, since EPO accelerates erythrocyte
production it also increases oxygen carrying capacity. This fact did not
long escape notice of the athletic community.

02.20 Armstrong says the last time he doped was 2005 and that he was
clean during his comeback in 2009, when he finished third in the TdF. He
says the accusation that he doped on those final rides angered him. Oprah’s
question is spot on:

Are we talking semantics here? Are we talking semantics?

02.16 Lance laughs and says “we would need a long time” to
describe how he actually got away with taking the drugs. He says his “cocktail”
was EPO, an oxygen enhancer, blood transfusions, and testosterone. But he
says he was not afraid of being caught because authorities so rarely tested
outside of the immediate racing period.

“It’s a question of scheduling,” he says as he describes outwitting
the drug testers.

02.14 He says the few men who weren’t doping were “heroes”
and denies that he ever considered them “suckers” for not taking
part in the wide-spread doping culture.

02.10 Armstrong says he is not here to blame others but it was “not
possible” to win the TdF during his time without doping. But he’s being
confronted with the 160-page USADA report that describes the sophisticated
network he developed to cover up his doping.

He flatly denies that saying he and his accomplices were “conservative”
and “risk-averse” and not really doing anything different to what
others were doing at the time.

02.07 He admits that he doped during his seven consecutive Tour de
France victories and admits to taking a whole string of drugs. So why come
clean now, after 13 years of defiance? “I view this situation as one
big lie that I repeated a lot of times,” he says. He admits that he
couldn’t live up to the “mythical” story of his own victories,
both in sport and over cancer.

02.00 Here we go: dramatic voice-over tracking the downfall of the
superstar. And then to the key question:

Yes or no – did you ever take banned substances?

Yes.

01.57 This, I think, is probably less likely to come up:

01.55 One of the key allegations against Armstrong comes his former
team-mate, Frankie Andreu, and his wife, Betsy. The Andreus claim
that they were in a hospital room with Armstrong in 1996 while he was
recovering from cancer where he allegedly told doctors he had taken a long
list of performance-enhancing drugs.

After falling out with Armstrong and making their allegations public, the
Andreus found themselves on the receiving end of a brutal campaign by Lance
and his allies. Will Armstrong address his treatment of his former friends?
Let’s wait and see.

01.45 My colleague Rachel Ray reports that Lance is treading a
path familiar to many disgraced stars, including
Sarah Ferguson, the Duchess of York
.

That a former member of the British royal family would choose an American
interviewer for a confessional interview surely reveals something about
Winfrey’s clout as the world’s premier celebrity confessor.

In a bizarre, rambling appearance, a shaken Duchess admitted to trying to
sell access to her ex-husband Prince Andrew after being caught on camera
doing so in an undercover sting video.


Confessional: The Duchess of York with Oprah

01.40 The expectation is that he’s going to admit to doping at some
stage in his career and offer some sort of apology. But there are lots of
questions still:

1) How extensive will his confession be? Will he claim that the doping
was limited to a small portion of his career?

2) Will he admit he was at the centre of an elaborate network designed
to conceal his doping?

3) Will he apologise to the former team-mates who have testified
against him and who he accused of being liars?

4) How will he justify the years of deceit?

01.35 The interview was filmed on Monday and has been aggressively
previewed but we still don’t really know what Armstrong is going to say or
how extensive his confession is. Oprah has been teasing in her few
appearances since the interview. Here’s what she had to say:

1.30am GMT Hello and welcome to our live coverage as Lance Armstrong
– a man who defeated cancer and won the Tour de France seven consecutive
times – faces his toughest challenge yet. In half an hour we will the first
round of his face off with Oprah Winfrey, the high priestess who
takes the confessions of America’s disgraced superstars.

Lance Armstrong faces Oprah Winfrey: live – Telegraph.co.uk
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