Lance Armstrong ended a decade of denial by confessing to Oprah Winfrey that he used performance-enhancing drugs to win the Tour de France, a person familiar with the situation reported.
Armstrong was emotional at times during the session, a source, who was familiar with the interview, told CNN.
The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the interview is to be broadcast Thursday on Winfrey’s network.
After the interview, Winfrey tweeted: “Just wrapped with @lancearmstrong More than 2 1/2 hours . He came READY!”
Just hours before the revelation, Armstrong appeared at the cancer charity he founded and tearfully apologized to the Livestrong charity that he founded and turned into a global institution on the strength of his celebrity as a cancer survivor.
Armstrong spoke to a room full of about 100 staff members for about 20 minutes, expressing regret for everything the controversy has put them through, the person said.
The person also said Armstrong apologized for letting the staff down and putting Livestrong at risk but he did not make a direct confession to using banned drugs, reports the Fox News.
He said he would try to restore the foundation’s reputation, and urged the group to continue fighting for the charity’s mission of helping cancer patients and their families.
“Heartfelt and sincere,” is how Livestrong spokesman Katherine McLane described his speech.
Winfrey and her crew had earlier said they would film the interview at his home but the location apparently changed to a hotel.
Local and international news crews staked out positions in front of the cyclist’s Spanish-style villa before dawn, hoping to catch a glimpse of Winfrey or Armstrong.
A group of about 10 close friends and advisers to Armstrong left a downtown Austin hotel about three hours after they arrived Monday afternoon for the interview.
Among them were Armstrong attorneys Tim Herman and Sean Breen, along with Bill Stapleton, Armstrong’s longtime agent, manager and business partner. All declined comment entering and exiting the session.
According to the CNN, Armstrong also might pay back part of the money he received from the U.S. Postal Service, which sponsored the cyclist and his team while he was winning six of his Tours de France, the source said.
The source said Armstrong was in negotiations to repay some of the money.
Armstrong won the Tour de France a record seven straight years, beginning in 1999. The postal service sponsored the team from 1996 to 2004.
The interview with Winfrey was Armstrong’s first public response to the USADA report. Armstrong was not expected to provide a detailed account about his involvement, nor address in depth many of the specific allegations in the more than 1,000-page USADA report.
The interview will air at 9 p.m. ET Thursday on the Oprah Winfrey Network. Winfrey has promised a “no-holds-barred” interview, with no conditions and no payment made to Armstrong.
Armstrong, 41, has repeatedly and vehemently denied that he used banned performance-enhancing drugs as well as illegal blood transfusions during his cycling career.