Our coverage of the first instalment of the Armstrong-Oprah interview has come to a conclusion. But you can now ready expert analysis from experienced cycling journalist Rupert Guinness. We'll also have full live coverage of part two of the interview, starting at 12.30pm AEST Saturday.
The reaction on Twitter is coming thick and fast. No doubt it will continue throughout the weekend. There's this from sports journalist Jacquelin Magnay:
Betsy Andreu responds to Armstrongs claim he never called her fat: "that exchange right there has me furious"— Jacquelin Magnay (@jacquelinmagnay) January 18, 2013
Part one of the most anticipated interview in sport comes to an end. For mine the most telling moments came right at the start when Lance Armstrong simply answered 'yes' to a series of questions from Oprah about his use of performance-enhancing drugs. After years of vehement denials and mounting evidence against the disgraced cyclist, to hear him utter those words himself was telling. Thereafter, he was light on details and basically refused to name names when it came to implicating others. That may still come, but don't hold your breath.
Samantha Lane: Part one: no tears.
Samantha Lane: George Hincapie's testimony, which Armstrong says he "doesn't fault" (because his former teammate was under "a lot of pressure") signalled the end game of his defence. Armstrong says his ex-teammate is the most "credible" voice on the whole topic of his cheating and adds that they are still "friends".
Rupert Guinness: Well .. on to Armstrong's former teammate Floyd Landis, who spilled the beans on him. Armstrong throws it back to his own comeback in 2009. He concedes, after a little forcing by Oprah, that not taking back Landis on to his team after his 2006 doping ban was a "blow off". Can you imagine ... had he taken on Landis would we be where we are today? Would Armstrong have gotten away with it? Quite possibly ... but that is no certainty having seen the strength of the likes of Betsy Andreu, Emma O'Reilly, Paul Kimmage and David Walsh and others who pursued the story or provided the evidence that eventually cracked it .... Interesting that Armstrong says he was getting used to probability that stories would just continue and he would live with it ....
Samantha Lane: Armstrong reckons he might have got away with cheating if he hadn't come out of retirement. That happened with his appearance at the 2009 Tour Down Under. He "just assumed the stories would continue for a long time”. Floyd Landis's accusations and admissions, he says, were a tipping point.
"We wouldn't be sitting here if I didn't come back," he offered up.
Rupert Guinness: Armstrong looking a little uneasy when asked about the 2001 Tour de Suisse and alleged positive test, he denied it ever happened, or that the laboratory that tested his sample was paid off, or that there was a secret meeting with it. Armstrong is slipping up soon after re: question about donation he made to the world body of cycling, the UCI, for anti-doping, saying he was retired then ... but he made two donations - one in 2005, yes; but an earlier one in May, 2002 when he was still riding. Big turning point in interview follows soon after is when he says former soigneur Emma O'Reilly is one of a number of people he has to apologise for ... Betsy Andreu, the wife of former teammate Frankie Andreu? Well ... he admits they spoke for 40 minutes but won't elaborate.
Except he admits they are not "at peace" when asked ... not surprising considering he admits he called her "crazy", "a bitch" and others things ... but then he denies he called her "fat". Where will this go now??
Armstrong: "They have every right to feel betrayed, and it's my fault. I will spend the rest of my life... some people are gone forever ... but I will spend the rest of my life trying to earn back trust from people."
Samantha Lane: Most interesting that Armstrong has said in his couple of references to cycling's world governing body, the UCI, that he is "no fan of the UCI". He has just denied that his donation to the body was a pay-off to cover up any positive tests.
We're moving on to the famous testimony from masseuse Emma O'Reilly, who worked closely with Armstrong, about back-dating a prescription to cover up a positive drug test. She was one of key figures who helped blow the lid on the great cover-up. "She is one of these people that I have to apologise to," Armstrong says. "She got ridden over."
As for the way he went after her with regular personal threats. "I was just on the attack," he said.
Rupert Guinness: When they played the 2005 Tour de France podium video and Armstrong gave his "to the cynics" speech ... he looks pretty embarrassed. It was a speech that would come back to bite him in the derriere ... slam dunk. Poignant answer when asked if he felt bad, or wrong about doping - or even bad about it - "no." That is one of the main things about doping ... dopers can reconcile with doping. Talking in hindsight, he is can see that now ... he should. It would be interesting to read the minds of other riders - past and present, clean or dirty to see what their honest take on all this would be. No doubt we will hear soon enough ...
Samantha Lane: Armstrong can't explain his blatant lying at the end of the 2005 Tour on the stage, when he said he felt sorry for the cynics and those who didn't believe in miracles. He describes it now as "ridiculous" and says he's "definitely embarrassed" by it. He retired the next day. Then goes on to say it didn't feel wrong. And that he didn't feel he was cheating "at the time".
Rupert Guiness: This is getting sticky re: Michele Ferrari, who was one of the others on the USADA charge sheet that included Armstrong. I reckon he won't want to reveal too much about other people and name names ... or unless there is a massive shift in his mood (or advice) during the interview. He is trying to take his share of blame for now, but we need to hear more about the others. Will this come out in tomorrow's episode?
"That's an arrogant person." Armstrong reflects while looking back on the 2005 footage. Very murky territory we're entering now. That was sworn testimony given eight years ago when his denials to doping were vehement.
Rupert Guinness: Armstrong is wrestling with the question regarding threatening riders with sack if they did not dope. He is starting to pause in his sentences, which when he is at full force he usually doesn't do. He is answering better with shorter answers than ones that need explanation. His hand on his heart actions - are they a subconscious reinforcement of his desire to be seen to be sincere? Talk back to his family upbringing is resuscitating him again. His explanation of being a bully or not is weird ... you are, or not.
We're moving on to his relationship with doctor Michele Ferrari. Footage of his interview from 2005 has just been shown where Armstrong vehemently defends him the doctor. So what now? "Was he the mastermind behind the doping program," Oprah asks .... The answer is so non-committal? "I'm not confortable talking about other people," Lance says.
Samantha Lane: Armstrong admits he was a "bully" because he tried to "control the narrative".
Leads to discussion about his childhood and growing up in a family of “fighters” who felt their “backs were against the wall”. In my view this won’t go down too well. It’s no excuse.
Some feedback on Twitter. UK cycling journalist Ned Boulting:
Armstrong now talking about the period during his recovery from cancer. "It was truly win at all costs ... I took that win at all costs attitude and took it into cycling."
Armstrong going into some detail now about the level of pressure applied on teammates. He is saying that a 'directive' never existed towards colleagues to join him in doping. Very grey area being explored at the moment. "I don't want to split hairs, but when you go into other teams and continue the same behaviour ..."
Q: Were you a bully? "Yeah, I was a bully. I tried to control them."
Rupert Guinness: I think Armstrong realises he has stepped over the line now and will explain more about how it all happened. Interesting that he says he was "clean" at races and that the doping was all before them ... but what about the blood transfusions. Now he is getting his air back .. he says he did not dope after his come back in 2009 and 201. That 'look' in his eye is coming back now ... a different 'look' than the guilt one he had at the beginning.
Samantha Lane: Big one: Armstrong says he never doped after his comeback. "Absolutely not". 2005 was the last time “I crossed the line”.
Rupert Guinness: I think Armstrong realises he has stepped over the line now and will explain more about how it all happened. Interesting that he says he was "clean" at races and that the doping was all before them ... but what about the blood transfusions. Now he is getting his air back .. he says he did not dope after his comeback. That 'look' in his eye is coming back now ... a different 'look' than the guilt one he had at the beginning.
Samantha Lane: Armstrong unwilling to talk about anyone else's doping practices. "I didn’t invent the culture, but I didn’t try to stop the culture.” One thing he is denying is that it was the most sophisticated, professionalised doping program sport has ever seen (US Anti-Doping Agency’s assessment). He calls his doping program “conservative” and “risk-averse”. “I viewed it as very simple”.
Rupert Guinness: Armstrong has begun on the front foot here with a full confession to using drugs ... he looks pretty stressed if you ask me. It's not new what we heard, but to hear the series of "Yes" to the first five questions come from his mouth was a poignant moment in this confession. But I suspect, now that he has admitted, he will regather some strength and start coming through with more confidence. Now we might to see a swing towards him being in a system rather than individually driving this. But at least he says it is his mistake. But this is not just about drugs. Will we hear his comments or confessions about how he treated others?
Samantha Lane: In the first five minutes Armstrong summed it up: "I view this situation as one big lie that I repeated a lot of times. Certainly I’m a flawed character … This story was so perfect for so long. All the blame here falls on me."
We've finally heard it. Doping confessions from Lance Armstrong. The cyclist offered up a series of 'yes' answers to various questions from Oprah, including the fact that he'd used EPO. Remarkable to hear it, even when we already know the facts. Sends a bit of a chill down the spine. "The story was so perfect for so long ... It's just this mythic perfect story and it wasn't true. I'm a flawed character."
Lance Armstrong talks to Oprah Winfrey during an exclusive interview to screen in Australia this week. Photo: Getty Images
Rupert Guinness: I'm in Adelaide for the Tour Down Under that starts next Tuesday, and the talk is certainly NOT about the Tour Down Under - the who will win, can win and may arise as this year's revelations! Race organisers have reconciled themselves to the fact that for today, tomorrow and quite probably for several days to come talk will be about the Lance Armstrong and Oprah Winfrey interview.
As the countdown closed in on the live interview to be aired on Disocvery Channel and Winfrey's cable network OWN, the Tour Down Under press room was abuzz with speculation about how far Armstrong's confession will go, and what will be left from today's interview to keep interest going for tomorrow.
Television camera crews and radio media are hovering around the race headquarters, the Hilton Hotel where the press room is and no doubt keen to catch riders, team officials or anyone for their comments on what Armstrong reveals.
So let's find out ... I'm as curious as anyone!
Time to catch up on some of the background to the Lance Armstrong saga:
Looking back at Armstrong's many denials
Years of speculation are about to end as the first part of Lance Armstrong's television interview with Oprah Winfrey is aired on television.PT2M9S http://www.canberratimes.com.au/action/externalEmbeddedPlayer?id=d-2cxcl 620 349 January 18, 2013
Bound to be a bit of cycling chatter on Twitter today! Hopefully a good mix of serious contributions and more than a touch of comedy. Like this early opener from our senior sports scribe Richard Hinds:
Just popped into the library. Helped them move copies of "It's Not About The Bike" to fiction. #LanceArmstrong— Richard Hinds (@rdhinds) January 17, 2013
The news stories about Armstrong have been flowing thick and fast in recent days (and weeks), but it's fascinating that the International Olympic Committee has chosen the eve of his interview with Winfrey (part one) to announce that it was stripping the cyclist of his bronze medal he won in the individual time trial at the 2000 Sydney Games, and has written to the American requesting its return. Timing is everything ....
It's the most sought-after interview in sport. Disgraced cyclist and drug cheat Lance Armstrong, who has been stripped of his seven consecutive Tour de France titles, is finally breaking his silence. But just what will be revealed in his supposed 'tell-all' interview with US talk show queen Oprah Winfrey?
There are so many elements to this sordid tale. So where to begin? A common sentiment seems to be 'why should you tune in to what is certainly going to be a stage-managed event'? But how can you turn away? There are so many things sports fans want to hear directly from Armstrong. So a chance to hear the words - whatever they may actually be - directly from the man himself, simply can't be ignored.
Just a reminder .... the broadcast of part one of Oprah's interview with Armstrong begins at 1pm AEST.
Lance Armstrong denied doping in a sworn testimony in 2005. Photo: Supplied