16 Jan 2013

Cycling in danger of losing Olympic status

10:04 pm on 16 January 2013

Cycling could be dropped from the Olympics if Lance Armstrong implicates the sport's governing body in covering up widespread doping.

Armstrong, 41, has apparently confessed in a pre-recorded interview with the American talk show host Oprah Winfrey that he used performance-enhancing drugs during his cycling career. The admission reverses a decade of denials from the seven-time Tour de France winner.

Dick Pound, a former head of the World Anti-Doping Agency and now International Olympic Committee member, says the IOC may have little choice if Armstrong demonstrates that the International Cycling Union acted improperly.

Winfrey recorded a lengthy interview in Austin, Texas with Armstrong, who has never recorded a positive doping test.

However, she has stopped short of confirming a confession, saying she will leave it to others to decide if Armstrong had been contrite in the interview.

Winfrey said Armstrong did not come clean in the manner she expected and she was mesmerised and riveted by what he had to say.

The questions "people around the world have been waiting to hear were answered", she told CBS News.

Winfrey said she took 112 questions into the interview, most of which she got to ask. When asked why Armstrong had agreed to the interview, she said: "I think he was just ready."

The interview is to air in the United States starting on Thursday (local time).

Lance Armstrong was stripped of his titles last year after the US Anti-Doping Agency issued an extensive report accusing him of doping throughout his career. He was given a lifetime ban on competing professionally.