After nearly 15 years of vehement denials, Lance Armstrong will confess that he used performance-enhancing drugs during his cycling career when he is interviewed by Oprah Winfrey, two people with knowledge of the situation said Saturday.
Armstrong, 41, will give a limited confession to Winfrey and will not provide details of the doping that anti-doping officials have said occurred throughout his career, said the two people, who did not want their names published for fear of jeopardizing their access to him.
Armstrong is scheduled to sit down with Winfrey in his home in Austin, Texas, on Monday, for the interview that will air Thursday at 9 p.m. on the Oprah Winfrey Network.
Without saying whether he would confess or apologize during the taping, Armstrong told The Associated Press in a text message Saturday, "I told her (Winfrey) to go wherever she wants and I'll answer the questions directly, honestly and candidly. That's all I can say."
The New York Times reported Jan. 4 that Armstrong was considering admitting publicly that he had used banned drugs and blood transfusions. Last fall, after 11 of his former teammates had testified against him, he was stripped of his seven Tour de France titles for doping and for his involvement in what officials called the most sophisticated, organized and professional doping program in sports history.
Armstrong is coming forward to discuss his past doping because he wants to persuade officials to lift his lifetime ban from Olympic sports so he can return to competing in triathlons and running events, according to people with knowledge of his plans.
Last month, Armstrong met with Travis Tygart, chief executive of the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency, to begin discussing a way in which an admission from Armstrong could mitigate his punishment. Under the World Anti-Doping Code, athletes can receive up to a 75 percent reduction of a ban if they provide substantial assistance to anti-doping authorities in building cases against other cheats. For his ban to be reduced, though, Armstrong will have to give information about the people who helped him in his doping.
What worries Armstrong the most, said people with knowledge of the situation, is that criminal charges could arise from his confession. He's already facing several civil cases.