Armstrong ready as Oprah comes to town
FILE - This combination image made of file photos shows Lance Armstrong, left, on Oct. 7, 2012, and Oprah Winfrey, right, on March 9, 2012. After more than a decade of denying that he doped to win the Tour de France seven times, Armstrong was scheduled to sit down Monday, Jan. 14, 2013 for what has been trumpeted as a "no-holds barred," 90-minute, question-and-answer session with Winfrey. (AP Photos/File)
AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Days of preparation dwindled to hours for Lance Armstrong, whose scheduled interview with Oprah Winfrey transformed his quiet upscale neighborhood into a destination for media awaiting word of an apology and for onlookers snapping souvenir photos.
While all this was going on Monday morning, Armstrong managed to slip away for a jog. He returned home by cutting through a neighbor's yard and hopping a fence.
After more than a decade of denying that he doped to win the Tour de France seven times, Armstrong was set to sit down Monday for what has been trumpeted as a "no-holds barred," 90-minute, question-and-answer session with Winfrey.
The cyclist will make a limited confession about his role as the head of a long-running scheme to dominate the prestigious bike race with the aid of performance-enhancing drugs, a person with knowledge of the situation has told The Associated Press.
FILE - In this Aug. 24, 2009 file photo, Lance Armstrong speaks during the opening session of the Livestrong Global Cancer Summit in Dublin, Ireland. Local and international news crews are staking out positions in front of Armstrong's lush, Spanish-style villa ahead of the cyclist's interview with Oprah Winfrey later Monday, Jan. 14, 2013. (AP Photo/Peter Morrison, File)
Winfrey and her crew said they would film the interview at Armstrong's home and broadcast it Thursday on the Oprah Winfrey Network. Local and international news crews were staking out positions in front of Armstrong's Spanish-style villa. News crews began arriving before dawn, hoping to catch a glimpse of Winfrey or Armstrong.
If he was feeling any pressure, Armstrong hardly showed it during a jog under bright skies Sunday, even as members of his legal team began arriving one-by-one at his home.
"I'm calm, I'm at ease and ready to speak candidly," he told the AP, but declined to reveal how he would answer questions about the scandal that has shadowed his career like an angry storm cloud.
Armstrong was stripped of all seven Tour titles last year following a voluminous U.S. Anti-Doping Agency report that portrayed him as a ruthless competitor, willing to go to any lengths to win the prestigious race. USADA chief executive Travis Tygart labeled the doping regimen allegedly carried out by the U.S. Postal Service team that Armstrong once led, "The most sophisticated, professionalized and successful doping program that sport has ever seen."