Lance Armstrong Oprah Interview 2013

January 17-18, 2013, Austin, Texas, Austin, Texas, Road - [none]

Complete Live Report

Live commentary by:
Laura Weislo

Welcome back to Cyclingnews' live blog of the Lance Armstrong interview conducted by Oprah Winfrey. We will be bringing you the play by play of what else Armstrong admits to, what other bombshells are yet to drop. Tune in at 8:30PM EST.

  1. 20:21:08 EST

    • Puncture

    In part one, Armstrong admitted to doping with EPO, testosterone, cortisone, and to doping during all seven of his Tour de France victories. He accepted responsibility for "leading by example" in the team's doping, but did not agree with USADA in its assertions that the team had a sophisticated doping scheme. He said that the doping was minimal and risk-averse, while later calling the doping reckless.

    What more will come in part two? We shall see!

  2. 20:28:58 EST

    There have been plenty of reactions whizzing around the internet since last night's part one of the interview.

    Greg LeMond said Armstrong tarnished all of the sport's champions.

    Betsy Andreu was upset that Armstrong didn't confirm the conversation in the hospital room back in 1996 when he confessed to his doctors he was doping, but later gave him credit for finally coming clean, so to speak.


  3. 20:35:12 EST

    The US Anti-Doping Agency and the UCI both came out for Armstrong, saying he has made the first step. USADA urged him to cooperate with the authorities, while the UCI used Armstrong's comments that the biological passport had discouraged doping as proof that they've been getting something done.

  4. 20:41:55 EST

    Other reactions from Christophe Bassons, various athletes including Andy Schleck, Jens Voigt, a "frustrated" Paul Kimmage, US cycling fans and legend Eddy Merckx ran the gamut of emotion.

  5. 20:43:22 EST

    Most cycling fans seem unconvinced of Armstrong's sincerity, and the mainstream press has been quite negative. Does anyone have anything positive to say? Tweet to @cyclingnewsfeed or use the hashtag #doprah to give us your views.


  6. 20:46:42 EST

    Personally, I found the long awaited confession by Armstrong liberating. With that out of the way, we can put it behind us and move on to what looks to be an exciting season full of (hopefully) clean champions. 

    Jane Aubrey and Alex Malone are busily prepping for the Santos Tour Down Under in the midst of an Australian summer heat wave.

    Daniel Benson is down in Australia for the Tour de San Luis, while the rest of us are looking forward to the Cyclo-cross World Championships in the USA and our various team camps which precede the start of the European road season.


  7. 20:50:42 EST

    We also have some exciting, fresh talent to look forward to watching this year. Cyclingnews' 10 questions series on the Class of 2013 has already covered Ian Boswell, Joe Dombrowski (both Sky), Evan Huffman (Astana) and Rohan Dennis (Garmin-Sharp), with more to come.


  8. 20:59:00 EST

    Just a few more minutes until the interview airs. Apparently, we are informed, Paramount Pictures has purchased the film rights to Armstrong's story. The NY TImes' Juliet Macur is writing the book. Looks like this won't be the last we hear from Mr. Armstrong.


  9. 21:02:27 EST

    And we start part 2 with a question "do you feel disgraced" - yes, he also feels humbled, ashamed, "this is ugly stuff".


  10. 21:03:52 EST

    What was the humbling moment?

    I believe it was a Wednesday. Nike called. They said, basically, they're out. Then the calls started coming. Trek, Giro, Anheuser Busch... everybody out.

    Still not the most humbling moment, but not a fun period.


  11. 21:04:59 EST

    "I assumed we'd get to this point... but I didn't think the foundation would leave".

    That foundation is Armstrong's eponymous LAF, which has been renamed Livestrong, officially, removing his name and he has been forced to step down from its board of directors.


  12. 21:06:05 EST

    $500 million for cancer awareness was raised.

    "That was the most humbling moment. To get that call - 1. step down as chairman and stay on the board - that wasn't enough for the people, for our supporters. Then a couple weeks later the next call came - we need you to step aside."


  13. 21:07:16 EST

    "I had to think about this a lot. None of my kids have said you're out, none of my friends have said, 'Lance, you're out'. To make that decision to step aside -that was big."

    Did they make it for you?

    "I wouldn't say I was forced out, I was aware of the pressure. It was the best thing for the organization, but it hurt like hell"


  14. 21:09:06 EST

    Are you facing your demons?

    "Absolutely. It's a process, and we're just at the beginning of the process".


  15. 21:10:39 EST

    In our first commercial break, we can safely say that this will be the "touchy-feely" part of the interview, whereas yesterday was more hard-hitting.

    Next up, what went through his mind before he tweeted the photo of himself lounging under his seven jerseys, after he'd been banned and stripped of those titles.


  16. 21:12:14 EST

    Daniel Benson says "For the last two years, since Landis first dropped those bombs at the Tour of California the entire strategy has been about circling the wagons and protecting this interests and mainly the foundation. He gave up fighting the allegations of doping but was always trying to hang onto the off-bike interests, the foundation".


  17. 21:14:19 EST

    Do you think that banned substances contributed to you getting cancer?

    "I don't think so. I've never had a doctor suggest that to me personally"


  18. 21:15:01 EST

    Flash back to the SCA deposition, where he talks about if he tested positive, all his sponsors would go away - everything would be erased.


  19. 21:16:09 EST

    Here we are at this moment, Oprah says.

    "I don't like that guy."

    Who is that guy?

    "That is a guy who felt invincible, who was told he was invincible and truly believed he was invincible. That guy is still there - I'm not going to lie. Does he need to be exiting through this process? Yes."


  20. 21:17:48 EST

    Do you owe David Walsh an apology?

    "I would apologize to David."

    What do you say to the millions wearing Livestrong bracelets?

    "I say, I understand your anger, your sense of betrayal, you supported me through all of this, you believed and I lied to you. I'm sorry. I will spend, and am committed to spending, as long as I have to to make amends."


  21. 21:18:17 EST

    Daniel Benson: There's such a conflict in the minds of the fans as Armstrong watches the SCA trial videos. There he was, lying under oath and he was so convincing, even though we knew he was lying. Now he's on a show with Oprah and he's attempting to convince the public he's telling the truth. He has a huge battle on his hands here.

    It leaves you with the question, what's theatre, and what's reality?


  22. 21:19:08 EST

    Armstrong says he still wants to compete, and that if there was ever a window - he would like to run the Chicago marathon when he's 50 for example, but right now he can't.


  23. 21:20:36 EST

    "This isn't the reason I'm doing this - this might not be the most popular answer. But I think I deserve it. ... I got a death penalty and they got six months," he says, referring to the riders who testified against him.

    "I deserve to be punished, I don't think I deserve a death penalty".


  24. 21:21:41 EST

    Oprah confronts him with the tweet of himself and his 7 jerseys. "It was more defiance. I thought it was a good idea at the time".


  25. 21:22:37 EST

    How has it changed the way you see yourself? Has it changed the way you see yourself?

    "Not completely."

    He admits he is in therapy, and that he needs to do it consistently. "I've had a messy life. That's no excuse - this is going to be a long process".



  26. 21:23:29 EST

    Is there real remorse?

    "Absolutely. Will it continue to grow? Absolutely. This is just the first steps. I'm paying the price, but I deserve it".


  27. 21:25:12 EST

    What do you think readers, do you believe he feel remorse? Tweet to @cyclingnewsfeed.


  28. 21:28:17 EST

    Were there people who cared about you who wanted you to stop this?

    "Of course". Could they have stopped you? "Probably not".


  29. 21:29:42 EST

    Armstrong: "If there was one person it was Kristin (his ex-wife). She believes in honesty and truth, she believes the truth will set you free."

    Have you told anybody the whole truth?

    "Yeah (laughs)"


  30. 21:31:34 EST

    Armstrong says Kristin was on a "need to know" basis, that he protected her from some of it. He asked her if he could do the comeback, "she said to me, you can do it under one condition, that you never cross that line again" - you mean drugs? - 'yes. I never would have betrayed that with her. It was a serious ask, it was a serious commitment.  I gave her my word". 


  31. 21:32:44 EST

    Armstrong says he thought he could come back and win the Tour, that he was coming back to a clean sport, a level playing field.

    How did it feel to come in third?

    "I expected to win. I just got beat by two guys who are better. I did everything I could in training, and I just got beat".


  32. 21:36:49 EST

    Now Oprah asks him about his oldest son Luke.

    "They know it a lot - they hear it in the hallways. Their school, their classmates have been very supportive. Where you lose control is when they go out of that space - Instagram, Twitter..."


  33. 21:37:49 EST

    Armstrong tells of Luke defending him to people, saying it wasn't true....

    Lance gets misty eyed...

    "Thats when I knew I had to tell him. And he'd never asked me. He never said, Dad, is this true. He trusted me."


  34. 21:38:51 EST

    Apparently it was only just this past month, over the holidays, that he actually admitted to his own son that he doped.


  35. 21:41:09 EST

    "They didn't say much. They didn't say, 'but wait, Dad' - they just accepted it. I told Luke. .. 

    (looks at his fingers, hand over his face. Sighs...)

    "I said, don't defend me anymore."

    How'd he take it?

    "He's been remarkably calm and mature about this (sniff).

    "They're going to see this, and I told him if any kid says anything to him, tell him my dad said sorry".


  36. 21:44:20 EST

    Another commercial break. So far the most emotion Armstrong has shown is when he described admitting to his children that he lied. That has to be tough, but after the break we find out where all his money went. 


  37. 21:48:48 EST

    Next segment: Oprah asks about the USADA 'donation" offer. 

    Were you trying to pay off USADA?

    "No, that is not true. There were 1000 pages of the reasoned decision, and it wasn't in there."

    "I would know (if that happened), and it is not true."

    Have you lost everything?

    "I've certainly lost all future income. You could look at those few days when people left (Nike etc.) - I don't like thinking about it. But that was a - I don't know - a $75 million day"


  38. 21:50:17 EST

    "It's probably never coming back", Armstrong says of his millions in future income.

    "I've been in a dark place (cancer) when I didn't know if I'd live -... this isn't the worst part of my life. You can't compare this to an advanced diagnosis and 50-50 odds. It's close... but I'm an optimist. I like to look forward. This has caused me to look back

    "My mom and I are very similar in that regard, we don't talk about the past."


  39. 21:51:24 EST

    Armstrong admits his mother is "a wreck" over the situation. "It took seeing her to understand that this has taken a toll on her life".


  40. 21:55:05 EST

    Another commercial break: the second half of this interview focuses on the costs to Armstrong - emotionally, in his relationships, financially. Has he paid enough, as Jens Voigt contends?

    Tweet to @cyclingnewsfeed your views.


  41. 21:56:55 EST

    Will you rise again?

    "I don't know - I don't know what's out there. I do not know the outcome here. I'm getting comfortable with that. That would have driven me crazy in the past. I'm getting there - I have to get even more there. I'm deeply sorry for what I did. I can say that thousands of time, and it might not be enough for me to come back".


  42. 21:59:35 EST

    Are you a better human being because of this?

    "Without a doubt. This has happened twice in my life."

    I can't lose my way again. I'm in no position to make promises, I am going to slip up again. That's the challenge for the rest of my life - to not lose sight of what I gotta do. I had it, and then things got too big, they got too crazy".

    What's the moral to this story?

    "I don't have a great answer there. I can look at what I did - cheating to win bike races, lying about it, bullying people... we're not supposed to do those things. There's another moral to this story - it was about losing myself, getting caught up in that and doing those things along the way. The ultimate crime is the betrayal of the people who believed in me and supported me, and I lied to them".


  43. 22:00:17 EST

    And that is the end of the interview!


  44. 22:01:21 EST

    In my opinion, as a fan I would like to believe Armstrong is sorry, that he intends to make things right. As a cynic, I feel like he's just setting himself up to get royalties to his story now that his future sporting income has been flushed away.


  45. 22:06:09 EST

    Daniel Benson: Tonight's finale had some poignant moments: Armstrong talking about his kids, a short apology for David Walsh and flat-out denial of Tygart's donation claims. Still there are more questions...


  46. 22:14:17 EST

    This will conclude our "live blog" of the Armstrong interview. We're left with more questions than we came in with - there was no mention of Bruyneel, no mention of any testimony against the UCI or other officials. There was really nothing new except for Armstrong finally admitting he's "a jerk" and "a bully".

    Now that this is behind us, please - go ride your bikes this weekend, enjoy the feeling of liberation that two wheels brings, watch some bike racing and have some fun.

    Thanks for reading.


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