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Nation/World

January 16, 2013

Winfrey: Armstrong interview 'intense'

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — “Emotional” doesn’t come close to describing Lance Armstrong’s conversation with Oprah Winfrey — an interview that included his confession about using performance-enhancing drugs to win seven Tour de France titles, Winfrey said yesterday.

She recounted on “CBS This Morning” her session with Armstrong and promoted what has become a two-part special on her OWN network, even while international doping officials said it wouldn’t be enough to save the disgraced cyclist’s career.

“I don’t think ‘emotional’ begins to describe the intensity or the difficulty he experienced in talking about some of these things,” Winfrey said.

Armstrong admitted during the interview at an Austin hotel that he used drugs to help him win the titles.

“It was surprising to me,” she said. “I would say that for myself, my team, all of us in the room, we were mesmerized and riveted by some of his answers.”

Winfrey said she went right at Armstrong with tough questions and, during a break, he asked if they would lighten up at some point. Still, Winfrey said she did not have to dig and that he was “pretty forthcoming.”

“I felt that he was thoughtful. I thought that he was serious,” she said. “I thought that he certainly had prepared for this moment. I would say that he met the moment.”

The session was to be broadcast in a single special tomorrow, but Winfrey said it will now run in two parts on consecutive nights — tomorrow and Friday — because there is so much material. Winfrey would not characterize whether Armstrong seemed contrite, saying she’ll leave that to viewers.

As stunning as Armstrong’s confession was for someone who relentlessly denied using PEDs, the World Anti-Doping Agency said he must confess under oath if he wants to reduce his lifetime ban from sports.

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