UK & World News

  • 15 January 2013, 2:33

Lance Armstrong Apologises To Cancer Charity

Disgraced cyclist Lance Armstrong has apologised to the staff at his Livestrong cancer foundation ahead of an interview with Oprah Winfrey.

Stripped last year of his seven Tour de France titles because of doping charges, Armstrong addressed the staff on Monday and said: "I'm sorry."

According to one person with direct knowledge of the meeting, Armstrong choked up and several employees cried during the session.

The person also said Armstrong apologised for letting down staff and putting Livestrong at risk, but he did not make a direct confession to the group about using banned drugs.

He said he would try to restore the foundation's reputation, and urged the group to continue fighting for the charity's mission of helping cancer patients and their families.

After the meeting, Armstrong, his legal team and close advisers gathered at a hotel for the interview.

The cyclist will make a limited confession to Winfrey about his role as the head of a long-running scheme to dominate the Tour with the aid of performance-enhancing drugs, a person with knowledge of the situation told the Associated Press.

Winfrey and her crew had earlier said they would film the interview, to be broadcast on Thursday, at his home but the location apparently changed to a hotel.

During a jog on Sunday, Armstrong said: "I'm calm, I'm at ease and ready to speak candidly." He declined to go into specifics.

Armstrong lost all seven Tour titles following a voluminous US Anti-Doping Agency report that portrayed him as a ruthless competitor, willing to go to any lengths to win the prestigious race.

US Anti-Doping Agency chief executive Travis Tygart labelled the doping regime allegedly carried out by the US Postal Service team that Armstrong once led, "the most sophisticated, professionalised and successful doping programme that sport has ever seen".

The interview with Winfrey will be Armstrong's first public response to the USADA report. He is not expected to provide a detailed account about his involvement, nor address in depth many of the specific allegations in the more than 1,000-page report.

Many sponsors dropped Armstrong after the report's publication - at the cost of tens of millions of dollars - and soon after, he left the board of Livestrong, which he founded in 1997.

Armstrong is still said to be worth about $100m (62m).

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