Lance Armstrong will use a televised interview with Oprah Winfrey next week to try to win back the hearts of the American public, the sports editor of France's Le Figaro newspaper said on Wednesday (January 9).
An Oct. 10 report from the U.S. anti-doping body USADA cited Armstrong's involvement in what it characterized as the "most sophisticated, professionalized and successful doping program that sport has ever seen.”
Less than two weeks later, Armstrong's seven Tour de France victories were nullified and he was banned from cycling for life.
Martin Couturier, sports editor at Le Figaro, told Reuters: "One could imagine that he wants to restore his image in one way or another. The Americans are very fond of these kinds of confessions on live television. We saw it with Bill Clinton during his time.
"Sportsmen -- there were others before him, like Andre Agassi -- are liable in the United States to come forward and confess a fiery past, and to start again with a clean slate, to bounce back in American public opinion. That's surely what he is aiming to do."
On Saturday, the New York Times reported that Armstrong, 41, had told associates and anti-doping officials he was considering an admission of using banned drugs.
"The main organization threatened in this case is the UCI, which is clearly accused of having covered up his activities or at least certain cases of doping, particularly concerning Armstrong.
"Its former President is really in the hot seat. Today all the people involved in the world cycling -- which is of course closely linked to Tour de France which really is the main event -- are demanding a deep reform of the UCI and demand that the current president quits. An independent commission was named to try to shed a light on the role of the UCI during these very dark years of the cycling world and for the Tour de France," he said.
"Will Armstrong blow everything up? It's not impossible, but I don't think he would go that far," he added.
The interview, to be broadcast on the Oprah Winfrey Network on Jan. 17, will be the first the American cyclist has conducted since receiving his ban and being stripped of his seven Tour de France titles.