Disgraced cyclist Lance Armstrong is hoping for an Oprah bump.
In his first interview since being stripped of seven Tour de France titles for alleged illegal doping last year, Armstrong will give an exclusive interview to Oprah Winfrey for a special 90-minute episode of “Oprah’s Next Chapter” on OWN Jan. 17, the network announced Tuesday.
“Armstrong will address the alleged doping scandal, years of accusations of cheating and charges of lying about the use of performance-enhancing drugs throughout his storied cycling career,” the OWN news release states, promising a “no-holds-barred” discussion with Armstrong at his Texas home.
News reports this week have suggested that Armstrong may soon admit to doping for the first time during his career, in hopes that athletic authorities will allow him to compete again.
The Oprah interview could be a first step in the rehabilitation of his image.
But he may face a tough comeback battle. As a cancer survivor and champion athlete, Armstrong was an inspiration to millions. But his steadfast denials of drug use were finally discredited after the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency compiled a damning report last year, alleging that he used performance-boosting drugs for years and then hid the evidence from authorities.
Winfrey, meanwhile, needs Armstrong to help give a boost to her network, which has struggled with low ratings and executive missteps.
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