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'I'd apologise to David Walsh' - what we learned from Lance/Oprah, part 2

The harm that Lance Armstrong caused his family, sponsors and fellow cancer survivors by years of lying and denials of doping was under the spotlight tonight.

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TONIGHT WE WERE treated to the second part of Lance Armstrong’s ‘no-holds barred’ interview with Oprah Winfrey. But there wasn’t much holding at all with the host sitting back and letting Armstrong take charge. Tonight’s broadcast focused more on the shamed rider’s sponsors, the effect his actions have had on his family and his future plans. Here are the main take-away points.

  • So we begin with the sponsors. ‘Nike called and said they were out. And then the calls started coming,’ the rider said. Armstrong described the couple of days when he lost his backers as ‘not a fun point’ and his ‘worst nightmare’. But he characterises the day he lost the support of his own Livestrong foundation as the most humbling moment of his demise. Can the charity live without Lance’s story, Oprah asks. ‘I hope so’ is the response.
  • Armstrong doesn’t think that PEDS contributed to his contracting cancer.
  • When asked if he’d apologise to the Sunday Times’ David Walsh, the former Tour legend laughs, half-commits to saying sorry an apology and then Oprah moves on inexcusably.
  • Okay, world… he reckons he deserves the chance to compete again. “Hell, yes. I’m a competitor. It’s what I’ve done my whole life. I love to train. I love to race. Not the Tour de France, but there’s a lot of other things I could do. I deserve to be punished. I’m not sure that I deserve a death penalty.”
  • What about that tweet he sent about kicking back at home in Austin with his seven yellow jerseys? Just more defiance he shrugged. “You know what’s scary, I though it was a good idea at the time.” When was this – a month-and-a- half ago?
  • Kirsten, Lance’s ex-wife. was on a need-to-know basis throughout their years together. But she was the one person Armstrong asked if he could make the Tour comeback. The Texan says she made him swear he wouldn’t dope if he did so.
  • ‘What do you tell your 13-year-old kid?’  Predictably, we have the first sign of tears in his eyes and an admission that he had to tell his son the truth over Christmas. He told Luke to stop defending his father in public and instead say ‘my dad says sorry’.
  • Armstrong says he didn’t try to pay off USADA with the supposed offer of a $150k donation, which Travis Tygart mentioned in an interview last week. ‘Why wasn’t that in the report?’ Armstrong asks.
  • He says the financial cost is ‘all future income’. The time he lost those sponsors? A £75 million dollar day, he reckons.
  • Armstrong says he’s deeply sorry and doesn’t know what the future holds. He reckons he’s going to be a better human being after this ‘process’. Oprah tells him the truth will set him free. He doesn’t look convinced.

More to follow

Liveblog: The Lance Armstrong-Oprah Winfrey interview, Part 2

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