'I left it all on the table' - Lance Armstrong

JIM LITKE AND JIM VERTUNO
Last updated 10:38 17/01/2013

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Lance Armstrong says viewers can judge for themselves how candid he was in his interview with Oprah Winfrey.

"I left it all on the table with her and when it airs the people can decide," he said.

Armstrong responded to a report in the New York Daily News, citing an unidentified source, that he was not contrite when he acknowledged with Winfrey that he used performance-enhancing drugs.

He's also held conversations with US anti-doping officials, touching off speculation that the team leader who demanded loyalty from others soon may face some very tough choices himself: Whether to cooperate and name those who aided, knew about or helped cover up a sophisticated doping ring that Armstrong ran on his tour-winning US Postal Service squads.

"I have no idea what the future holds other than me holding my kids," he said.

Armstrong's interview with Winfrey won't begin airing until Friday (NZ time), but already some people want to hear more - under oath - before he's allowed to compete again in elite triathlons, a sport he returned to after retiring from cycling in 2011. In addition to stripping him of all seven of his Tour de France titles last year, anti-doping officials banned Armstrong for life from sanctioned sports.

"He's got to follow a certain course," said David Howman, director general of the World Anti-Doping Agency. "That is not talking to a talk-show host."

Former teammate Frankie Andreu, one of several riders Armstrong cast aside on his ride to the top of cycling, said no one was better-suited to provide anti-doping authorities with a blueprint for cleaning up the sport.

"Lance knows everything that happened," Andreu said. "He's the one who knows who did what because he was the ringleader. It's up to him how much he wants to expose."

WADA officials said nothing short of "a full confession under oath" would even cause them to reconsider the ban. Although Armstrong admitted to Winfrey that he used performance-enhancing drugs, Howman said that was "hardly the same as giving evidence to a relevant authority."

The International Cycling Union also urged Armstrong to tell his story to an independent commission it has set up to examine claims that the sport's governing body hid suspicious samples, accepted financial donations, and helped Armstrong avoid detection in doping tests.

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- AP

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