Disgraced Lance Armstrong ready for Oprah TV grilling
As days of preparations dwindled to hours before his blockbuster interview with Oprah Winfrey, Lance Armstrong went out for a training run and then retreated behind the stone walls of his compound in Austin, Texas to huddle with a handful of close advisers.
After more than a decade of denying that he doped to win the Tour de France seven times, Armstrong was scheduled to sit down overnight for what has been trumpeted as a "no-holds barred" 90-minute question-and-answer session with Winfrey.
He is expected to reverse course and apologise, as well as offer a limited confession about his role as the head of a long-running scheme to dominate the prestigious bike race with the aid of performance-enhancing drugs. Winfrey and her crew will film the interview at Armstrong's home and broadcast it Friday morning (Hong Kong time) on the Oprah Winfrey Network.
If he was feeling any pressure, Armstrong hardly showed it during a jog under bright skies, even as members of his legal team began arriving.
"I'm calm, I'm at ease and ready to speak candidly," he said, but declined to reveal how he would answer questions about the scandal that has shadowed his career like an angry storm cloud.
Armstrong was stripped of all seven Tour titles last year in the wake of a US Anti-Doping Agency report, which portrayed him as a ruthless competitor, willing to go to any lengths to win the prestigious race. Yet Armstrong looked like just another runner getting in his roadwork yesterday, wearing a red jersey and black shorts.
Leaning into a reporter's car, he seemed unfazed by the attention and the international news crews that made stops at his home. He cracked a few jokes about all the reporters vying for his attention, then added: "But now I want to finish my run," and took off down the road.