Austin: Cyclist Lance Armstrong has admitted to talk show host Oprah Winfrey that he used performance-enhancing drugs in a lengthy interview to be aired later this week, USA on Tuesday reported.
     
Although Winfrey did not reveal details of the interview ahead of its Thursday night air date on her OWN cable network and its website, she took to Twitter to say the exchange had lasted more than two and a half hours. "He came READY!" she tweeted.
     
For years, Armstrong has repeatedly denied taking performance enhancing drugs to win the Tour de France and other big cycling events.
     
Any confession by Armstrong could have legal or financial ramifications, particularly among big-name corporate sponsors such as Nike that had loyally stood by him even as doping allegations grew.
     
Reporters, photographers and TV crews took up positions earlier across the street from Armstrong's opulent Austin home, where the interview took place and which is surrounded by an eight-foot (2.4-meter) high stone wall.
     
Winfrey was set to appear on television's "This Morning" on Tuesday to promote the interview.      

It was Armstrong's first interview since he was stripped in October of his seven Tour de France titles after the US Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) said he helped orchestrate the most sophisticated doping program in sports history.
     
The announcement that Armstrong had agreed to an interview had sparked widespread speculation that he might finally confess to being a drug cheat after years of strenuous denials.
     
USA Today, which cited an unnamed person familiar with the interview as saying Armstrong had admitted to doping, had earlier indicated that the cyclist did not plan to go into great detail about specific cases and events.
    
Before the taping, Armstrong personally apologized to staff members at Livestrong, the charity he founded to support cancer survivors.

(Agencies)

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