Top athletes often go on a kind of victory tour as their careers wind down but for Lance Armstrong, it’s more like an Ignominy Tour.
With rumors swirling that he may finally admit to doping, word’s out he’s just been booked for an interview by none-other than Oprah Winfrey later this month.
Meanwhile, the latest “bad news” salvo is an interview that airs Wednesday evening on 60 Minutes Sports, with the head of the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency, Travis Tygart.
Lance Armstrong has always maintained that, despite being tested for banned substances over 500 times, he had never tested positive.
Tygart tells 60 Minutes correspondent Scott Pelly it’s true he wasn’t caught at the time but he’s been dirty since at least 1999, when Armstrong won his first Tour de France.
“There were six samples that were taken from Lance Armstrong that were retested in ’05, and they were positive,” Tygart said in the interview.
“In ’99 when the tests were originally taken, was it reported that they were negative?” asked Pelley.
“There was no test for EPO. They were not tested for EPO at that time.”
“And when you tested for them in 2005, you discovered -”
Tygart interrupted. “All six for were flaming positive.
Perhaps more damning to Armstrong than even the doping is his concerted effort to cover it up.
Pelley asked if Armstrong was personally involved in intimidating the other riders to keep them quiet. Tygart said he was and it was tough, because witnesses who should have been coming forward were scared of the consequences.
Pelley asked, what could Lance Armstrong to do them?
“Incinerate them,” replied Tygart.
Okay, “incinerate” is a pretty extreme word for Tygart to use, but he cites with some pretty damning testimony.
The entire interview airs Wednesday night on the debut show of 60 Minutes Sports at 10 p.m. on Showtime.