The Four Seasons hotel in Texas was the hastily arranged venue for the highly publicised interview with disgraced cyclist Lance Armstrong. Talk-show host Oprah Winfrey was forced to move it to the hotel because journalists had besieged Armstrong’s home. It is reported he admitted using performance-enhancing drugs.
Before the programme was broadcast, Oprah Winfrey would only say that the disgraced cyclist “did not come clean in the way I expected.”
In an appearance on CBS on Tuesday, Winfrey said she would leave to others to decide if Armstrong was contrite, but added that he was serious and thoughtful in the interview.
Before the recording the disgraced cyclist visited his charity, Livestrong, to apologise to staff. The shock still reverberates through the sport.
“Well, I’m a fan of Lance Armstrong and it’s sad for everything that’s going on, for what he has done and meant. Not only to the cycling industry, per se, and all that was accomplished, but all of his followers and the Livestrong Foundation and all that,” said Dwight MacKenzie,
Another fan Russell Williams said: “We watched him win seven times and we all just stood in amazement and now to find out it was based on lies. It hurts all of us.”
The interview, and what many hope will be an admission, which will be broadcast on Thursday could have significant financial ramifications: South Australia may seek repayment of several million euros paid in appearance fees at the Tour Down Under.
A confession would mark a stunning turn-around after Armstrong spent years strenuously denying doping allegations, on occasions under oath, and threatening to sue anyone who made them.