Media stakes out Armstrong's home ahead of Oprah interview
AUSTIN, Texas (AFP) — Journalists staked out the Texas home of Lance Armstrong yesterday ahead of an interview with Oprah Winfrey during which the disgraced cyclist is reportedly planning to admit to doping.
Reporters, photographers and TV crews took up positions across the street from Armstrong's opulent Austin home, which is surrounded by an eight-foot-high (2.4-metre) stone wall.
There was no sign by mid-day of Oprah or Armstrong.
The interview with Oprah was scheduled to be taped at Armstrong's home yesterday and is to air on her OWN cable network on Thursday.
The announcement that Armstrong had agreed to an interview has sparked widespread speculation that he might finally confess to being a drug cheat after years of strenuous denials.
According to USA Today, Armstrong plans to admit in the interview to doping throughout his career, but will not go into great detail about specific cases and events.
It will be Armstrong's first interview since he was stripped in October of his seven Tour de France titles after the US Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) said he helped orchestrate the most sophisticated doping programme in sports history.
Any confession by Armstrong could have legal or financial ramifications.
Since the International Cycling Union effectively erased him from the record books, Britain's The Sunday Times has sued Armstrong for more than £1 million ($1.6 million) over a libel payment made to him in 2006.
The newspaper paid Armstrong £300,000 to settle a libel case after publishing a story suggesting he may have cheated, and now wants that money plus interest and legal costs repaid.
A Texas insurance company has also threatened legal action to recoup millions of dollars in bonuses it paid him for multiple Tour victories.
His years of dominance in the sport's greatest race raised cycling's profile in the United States to new heights and gave Armstrong, a cancer survivor, a unique platform to promote cancer awareness and research.
The Lance Armstrong Foundation has raised almost $500 million since its creation in 1997.
In the wake of the allegations, several top sponsors dumped Armstrong and on November 14 his name was dropped from the charity he founded, which is now known as the Livestrong Foundation.