Lance Armstrong, the once-revered cyclist who won seven Tour de France titles, only to be stripped of them all after allegations he used performance enhancing drugs, did his best to absolve his errors within the cycling world this week.
The cancer survivor and research advocate called members of the bicycle racing community Sunday evening to apologize for comments he was going to make in a taped interview with Oprah Winfrey Monday evening, The Washington Post reports.
After years of denying allegations of doping — and saying he would never alter his stance — many in the news media expect Armstrong to admit the charges on the highly publicized interview that will air on Winfrey's own cable network.
Armstrong's series of phone calls to key members within the cycling world was seen as a preliminary move to brace his former colleagues for the details he was to provide in the Oprah interview.
An official confirmed on Monday that Armstrong also apologized to members of his staff at the Livestrong Foundation, the charity he ran for years after overcoming testicular cancer. In private discussion in Austin, Texas, Armstrong apologized for letting the staff down and putting the company at risk, but he didn't make specific confessions to using performance-enhancing drugs.
The Associated Press reported that Armstrong choked up during his apology and that members of the staff cried, though it was not reported exactly what he was apologizing for. USA Today quoted a Livestrong spokesman as saying it was a "very sincere and heartfelt apology to the staff," but did not provide any further details.
The interview with Oprah, which is being taped at Armstrong's Austin home, will air Thursday at 9 p.m. and will be webcast on Oprah.com. In the last month, the New York Times and USA Today both reported that Armstrong planned to make sweeping confessions about the doping that went on in the cycling community.
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