Cycling: Oprah Winfrey 'confession' will not stop pursuit of Lance Armstrong

Legal attempts to win back over £10m set to proceed regardless of disgraced cyclist's TV interview

Lance Armstrong's decision to give a supposedly "no-holds barred" interview to Oprah Winfrey – in which he is expected to at last confess to elements of doping during his seven Tour de France victories – will do nothing to delay his pursuers stepping up efforts to reclaim many millions of dollars worth of bonuses and prize money paid to the cyclist.

The British rider David Millar said the 90-minute interview – to be broadcast in the early hours of Friday morning next week – runs the risk of being "stage-managed" and falls well short of a proper examination of his offences. It is the first time Armstrong will have answered any questions on doping since he was last year banned for life by the US Anti-Doping Agency (Usada) and stripped of his Tour titles.

Shortly after the interview is aired papers are expected to be filed in a Dallas court on behalf of SCA Promotions, which is looking to reclaim more than $11m (£9m) from the 41-year-old. It will be the first of a number of cases to come to court.

Armstrong's move is seen by some in the US as an attempt to win back public support but any public confession, or otherwise, will do nothing to alter SCA's case, according to the company's lawyers. Jeff Tillotson, an attorney acting for SCA, insisted the investigation by Usada proves Armstrong has already perjured himself and they already have all they need to conduct their case.

According to the Usada report published last year, Armstrong perjured himself during a 2005 court case with SCA – the company wanted to withhold a $5m bonus for winning the 2004 Tour because of doping allegations. SCA's lawyers say that is enough to allow a civil case for perjury – no matter what emerges from the interview.

Whether Armstrong could face a criminal charge of perjury remains uncertain. In some US states there is a seven-year statute of limitation, but it varies from state to state. Armstrong could yet face charges – which carry a possible prison sentence – if he is believed to have lied to any federal officials. In 2011, a federal investigation into US Postal – Armstrong's team – was suddenly dropped with no explanation. The authorities refused to comment on their investigation or any evidence Armstrong might have given during its course. Armstrong's legal team reportedly remain concerned over the possibility of a perjury charge.

Millar, who served a doping ban himself and is now a member of the World Anti-Doping Agency's athletes' commission, also dismissed the relevance of next week's interview.

He said: "Only Lance would get to have his moment of truth, if that's what it will be, in front of Oprah Winfrey. It is not sitting in front of a judge or a disciplinary hearing being properly questioned about the things he has done wrong. I doubt very much it will be a proper interrogation.

"My biggest concern is that it will be completely stage-managed, that he will just be 'given the ball', and that it will all be about his emotions rather than concentrating on exactly what he did wrong."

Armstrong has always denied doping but speculation that he is ready to admit his offences has grown in the US in recent days amid claims that he hopes to have his life ban reduced to allow an eventual return to competing in triathlons and Iron Man competitions. There have also been reports that his legal representatives have met with Usada, the body that compiled the exhaustive case against Armstrong which included testimony from 11 different team-mates. Then today it was announced that he had agreed to the interview to be broadcast on the Oprah Winfrey Network – it will be shown at 2am UK time and will be streamed around the world on

Armstrong will not be paid for the interview, according to a statement released later by the network. It added that he will have "no editorial control" over the interview and that "no question is off limits". The network is jointly run by Winfrey's company and the Discovery Channel, which sponsored Armstrong's team between 2004 and 2007. The interview will be pre-recorded.

Armstrong is also facing claims from The Sunday Times, which is seeking around £1m after the newspaper was successfully sued by Armstrong following its reporter David Walsh accusing the American of doping, and what is known in the US as a "whistleblower" lawsuit brought by Floyd Landis, a former team-mate of Armstrong's and another doper. Landis has filed under the False Claims Act – the case surrounds the use of government money with which US Postal sponsored Armstrong's team from 2000 to 2004. The US government may yet decide to join Landis in the lawsuit.

ASO, the organisers of the Tour, have also spoken of seeking the return of around £3m in prize-money. Armstrong, who has an estimated wealth of $125m (£100m), is believed to have lost a total of £30m in sponsorship, notably through the loss of Nike's backing.

Tears on TV: Sporting confessions in front of the cameras

Paul Merson

Now working as a television pundit, the former Arsenal and England midfielder battled with a number of off-the-pitch problems during his playing career. Admitted to therapy, Merson broke down in tears during a press conference in 1995 where he confessed to being an alcoholic, a gambler and having taken cocaine.

Hanse Cronje

Former South Africa cricket captain and a national hero until he became engulfed in a huge match-fixing scandal. Received £65,000 in bribes from a bookmaker and confessed to match-fixing in 2000. Died in a plane crash before he was able to face criminal charges in 2002.

Marion Jones

The American sprinter admitted to using steroids in preparation for the 2000 Olympics. Broke down in tears at a press conference and pleaded guilty, in October 2007, to lying to federal investigators. Served six-month jail sentence.

Tiger Woods

Former world No 1 golfer confessed to cheating on his wife as he announced he would take "an indefinite hiatus" from golf. Then went in front of the cameras to apologise for his affairs at a press conference in February 2010.

Tom Williams/Dean Richards

Harlequins wing Tom Williams admitted using a fake blood capsule during a defeat to Leinster in April 2009 in order to allow a specialist kicker on as blood replacement. Williams changed his evidence at the "bloodgate" hearing and told the truth. Former Quins director of Rugby, Dean Richards, confessed "huge regret for everything" and was banned for three years.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Online Sales and Customer Services Executive

£15000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An On-line Sales & Customer Ser...

Recruitment Genius: Accounts Assistant - Fixed Term Contract - 6 Months

£15000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: One of the largest hospitality companies...

Recruitment Genius: Electricians - Fixed Wire Testing

£28000 - £32000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: As a result of significant cont...

Recruitment Genius: Customer Service Advisor

£16575 - £19000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An excellent opportunity is ava...

Day In a Page

Seifeddine Rezgui: What motivated a shy student to kill 38 holidaymakers in Tunisia?

Making of a killer

What motivated a shy student to kill 38 holidaymakers in Tunisia?
UK Heatwave: Temperatures on the tube are going to exceed the legal limit for transporting cattle

Just when you thought your commute couldn't get any worse...

Heatwave will see temperatures on the Tube exceed legal limit for transporting cattle
Exclusive - The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Swapping Bucharest for London

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Meet the man who swapped Romania for the UK in a bid to provide for his family, only to discover that the home he left behind wasn't quite what it seemed
Ajmer: The ancient Indian metropolis chosen to be a 'smart city' where residents would just be happy to have power and running water

Residents just want water and power in a city chosen to be a ‘smart’ metropolis

The Indian Government has launched an ambitious plan to transform 100 of its crumbling cities
Michael Fassbender in 'Macbeth': The Scottish play on film, from Welles to Cheggers

Something wicked?

Films of Macbeth don’t always end well - just ask Orson Welles... and Keith Chegwin
10 best sun creams for body

10 best sun creams for body

Make sure you’re protected from head to toe in the heatwave
Women's World Cup 2015: How England's semi-final success could do wonders for both sexes

There is more than a shiny trophy to be won by England’s World Cup women

The success of the decidedly non-famous females wearing the Three Lions could do wonders for a ‘man’s game’ riddled with excess, cynicism and greed
How to stop an asteroid hitting Earth: Would people co-operate to face down a global peril?

How to stop an asteroid hitting Earth

Would people cooperate to face a global peril?
Just one day to find €1.6bn: Greece edges nearer euro exit

One day to find €1.6bn

Greece is edging inexorably towards an exit from the euro
New 'Iron Man' augmented reality technology could help surgeons and firefighters, say scientists

'Iron Man' augmented reality technology could become reality

Holographic projections would provide extra information on objects in a person's visual field in real time
Sugary drinks 'are killing 184,000 adults around the world every year'

Sugary drinks are killing 184,000 adults around the world every year

The drinks that should be eliminated from people's diets
Pride of Place: Historians map out untold LGBT histories of locations throughout UK

Historians map out untold LGBT histories

Public are being asked to help improve the map
Lionel, Patti, Burt and The Who rock Glasto

Lionel, Patti, Burt and The Who rock Glasto

This was the year of 24-carat Golden Oldies
Paris Fashion Week

Paris Fashion Week

Thom Browne's scarecrows offer a rare beacon in commercial offerings
A year of the caliphate:

Isis, a year of the caliphate

Who can defeat the so-called 'Islamic State' – and how?