Last night the eagerly awaited first part of the interview with Lance Armstrong by Oprah Winfrey was broadcast.
Needless to say, I did not stay up to watch it live as it was 2 o'clock in the morning GMT.
I did, however, see some brief excerpts this morning on the news which confirmed my view of Armstrong when I read his book that he is not a man to whom you would easily warm and his confirmation of Oprah's suggestion that he was a bully was exactly howI felt about him a few years ago.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, the former seven times Tour de France winner finally confessed to his indiscretions. After all, there was no other course he could take given all of the evidence which has appeared over the past few months. He admitted to doping during his career and revealed that he took performance-enhancing drugs in each of his Tour wins. He stated that doping was “part of the process required to win the Tour”.
The US Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) are now calling on Armstrong to confess the full extent of his doping under oath. USADA was the agency that brought the charges against Armstrong after federal prosecutors in California dropped their investigation into alleged doping. Armstrong then filed a lawsuit against USADA last year accusing it of “corrupt inducements” to other cyclists to testify against him but then in August he stated that he would not fight doping charges filed against him. He was thereafter stripped of his Tour de France titles since 1995 and just last week his 2000 Sydney Olympics bronze medal. He has continued to protest his innocence until his interview with Oprah Winfrey.
There is a feeling, however, particularly amongst those in the cycling world, that this interview has not answered all of the relevant questions and indeed many questions were impressively dodged or not answered at all by Armstrong. His ability to answer a question without actually saying anything definitive was impressive. There was very little emotion shown although I believe the second part which involves his family does show him in a different light which is mildly comforting.
Armstrong did not name any names and the issue remains open about how many other people are involved. His assertion that taking performance enhancing drugs was like putting air in a tyre or filling a water bottle, makes it fairly safe to assume that the problem of doping was, and perhaps still is, rife. He also did not state whether he will be prepared to work with USADA and testify against the senior officials of cycling’s governing body, UCI.
Although Armstrong’s admission is a small step in the right direction there still remain many questions unanswered. Perhaps part two will broach some of these questions although given the interview style of Oprah Winfrey, I would sincerely doubt it. It seems as though we will have to wait and see what further steps are taken by bodies such as USADA but I would guess that this is certainly not the end of the matter.