published Wednesday, January 9th, 2013

Oprah to interview Lance Armstrong for Jan. 17 show

  • photo
    This combination image made of file photos shows Lance Armstrong, left, on Oct. 7, 2012, and Oprah Winfrey, right, on March 9, 2012. According to a release posted on Oprah's website on Tuesday, Jan. 8, 2013, Armstrong has agreed to a rare televised interview that will air next week and will address allegations that he used performance-enhancing drugs during his cycling career.
    Photo by Associated Press /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

LOS ANGELES — Lance Armstrong has agreed to an interview with Oprah Winfrey in which he is to address allegations he used performance-enhancing drugs during a career in which he won seven Tour de France titles.

According to Winfrey's website on Tuesday, this will be a "no holds-barred interview." It will be the first with Armstrong since his cycling career crumbled under the weight of a massive report by the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency. The report detailed accusations of drug use by Armstrong and teammates on his U.S. Postal Service teams.

It's unclear if the interview at Armstrong's home in Austin, Texas, has already been taped. Nicole Nichols, a spokeswoman for Oprah Winfrey Network & Harpo Studios, declined comment.

The show will be broadcast Jan. 17 at 9 p.m. EST on OWN and Oprah.com.

Armstrong has strongly denied the doping charges that led to him being stripped of his Tour de France titles, but The New York Times reported Friday he has told associates he is considering acknowledging the use of performance enhancers.

The newspaper report cited anonymous sources, and Armstrong lawyer Tim Herman told The Associated Press that night he had no knowledge of Armstrong considering a confession.

Earlier Tuesday, "60 Minutes Sports" reported the head of USADA told the show a representative for Armstrong offered the agency a "donation" in excess of $150,000 several years before an investigation by the organization led to the loss of Armstrong's Tour de France titles.

In an interview for the premiere on Showtime on Wednesday night, USADA chief executive Travis Tygart said he was "stunned" when he received the offer in 2004.

"It was a clear conflict of interest for USADA," Tygart said. "We had no hesitation in rejecting that offer."

Herman denied such an offer was made.

"No truth to that story," Herman wrote Tuesday in an email to the AP. "First Lance heard of it was today. He never made any such contribution or suggestion."

Tygart was traveling and did not respond to requests from the AP for comment. USADA spokeswoman Annie Skinner said Tygart's comments from the interview were accurate. In it, he reiterates what he told the AP last fall: He was surprised when federal investigators abruptly closed their two-year investigation into Armstrong and his business dealings, then refused to share any evidence they gathered.

"You'll have to ask the feds why they shut down," Tygart told the AP. "They enforce federal criminal laws. We enforce sports anti-doping violations. They're totally separate. We've done our job."

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