Oprah Winfrey says Lance Armstrong admits drug use

Oprah Winfrey has confirmed that disgraced cyclist Lance Armstrong came clean to her in an exclusive interview to be aired this week about his use of performance-enhancing drugs.

Disgraced U.S. cyclist was 'forthcoming' about doping to TV interviewer

Talk-show host Oprah Winfrey, right, interviews cyclist Lance Armstrong during Monday's taping of the show "Oprah and Lance Armstrong: The Worldwide Exclusive" in Austin, Texas. (George Burns/Associated Press - Courtesy of Harpo Studios, Inc.)

Oprah Winfrey is confirming that Lance Armstrong came clean to her about his use of performance-enhancing drugs during their 2½ hour interview Monday.

She said the cyclist was "forthcoming" as she asked him in detail about doping allegations that followed him throughout his seven Tour de France victories.

Speaking on CBS This Morning, Winfrey said she had not planned to address Armstrong's confession before the interview aired on her OWN network, but "by the time I left Austin [Texas] and landed in Chicago, you all had already confirmed it."

"So I'm sitting here now because it's already been confirmed," she added.

Winfrey would not characterize whether Armstrong seemed contrite but said he seemed ready for the interview.

"I would say he met the moment," she said.

Winfrey interviewed Armstrong at a hotel in downtown Austin.

The session was to be broadcast on Thursday, but Winfrey said it will now run in two parts over two nights because there is so much material.

The confession was a stunning reversal for a proud athlete and celebrity who sought lavish praise in the court of public opinion and used courtrooms to punish his critics.

Armstrong won every Tour from 1999 to 2005, but each of those titles was stripped last year as the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency released a massive report built around the testimony of former teammates.

USADA accused Armstrong of masterminding a long-running and sophisticated doping operation on his teams.

The 41-year-old Armstrong vehemently denied the charges for years and fiercely attacked his critics, but after losing his titles and being abandoned by corporate sponsors, he has changed course. 

'Strongly urge Lance Armstrong to testify'

Cycling's governing body urged Armstrong on Tuesday to testify before its independent commission on doping.

WADA urges Lance Armstrong to confess under oath to reduce lifetime ban

The World Anti-Doping Agency says Lance Armstrong must confess under oath to seek a reduction in his lifetime ban from sports for doping during seven Tour de France victories.

WADA says it "read with interest media reports suggesting a television 'confession' made by Lance Armstrong" to talk show host Oprah Winfrey on Monday.

Armstrong reportedly hopes to return to competition in recognized triathlon events.

However, WADA says "only when Mr. Armstrong makes a full confession under oath — and tells the anti-doping authorities all he knows about doping activities — can any legal and proper process for him to seek any reopening or reconsideration of his lifetime ban commence."

The agency says athletes must pass on details of performance-enhancing drug use "to the relevant anti-doping authorities."

International Olympic Committee vice-president Thomas Bach said Armstrong should provide a complete confession to USADA or WADA.

"The TV interview is not the right platform," he told the AP.

The Associated Press 

The International Cycling Union (UCI) said it was aware of media reports that Armstrong had come clean and confessed to doping during the interview with Winfrey taped Monday.

"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 (USPS) team," the federation said in a statement.

The UCI said it would not make any further comment until it has viewed the interview.

The UCI set up an independent panel in November to investigate the Armstrong case and what role the governing body had in the scandal. The U.S. Anti-Doping Agency raised suspicions of UCI collusion with Armstrong in its damning report that led to the cyclist being stripped of his seven Tour de France titles and banned for life.

The UCI has been accused of covering up suspicious samples from Armstrong, accepting financial donations from him and helping him avoid detection in doping tests.

Armstrong is reportedly considering testifying against UCI officials.

Former UCI President Hein Verbruggen said Tuesday he wasn't ready to speak about the Armstrong case.

"I haven't seen the interview," Verbruggen told the AP.

"It's all guessing. After that, we have an independent commission, which I am very confident will find out the truth of these things."

The three-member independent commission is chaired by retired British judge Philip Otton. He is working alongside Australian lawyer Malcolm Holmes and Tanni Grey-Thompson, a 10-time Paralympic gold medallist in wheelchair racing who is now a lawmaker in the upper chamber of Britain's Parliament.

The three-member panel will meet in London from April 9-26, with a June 1 deadline to deliver its report.

The cycling body has said the three will have access to "all relevant documents in the control or possession of the UCI," including bank and telephone records and laboratory test results.