AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Lance Armstrong has ended his cycle of denials.
A person familiar with the situation says Armstrong confessed to Oprah Winfrey during an interview Monday that he used performance-enhancing drugs to win the Tour de France from 1999-2005. The confession was a stunning reversal, after years of public statements, interviews and court battles in which he denied doping and zealously protected his reputation.
The admission came hours after an emotional apology by Armstrong to the Livestrong charity that he founded and turned into a global institution on the strength of his celebrity as a cancer survivor.
Armstrong stopped at Livestrong on his way to the interview and said, "I'm sorry" to staff members, some of whom broke down in tears. A person with knowledge of that session said Armstrong choked up and several employees cried during the session.
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.
Armstrong was stripped of all seven Tour de France 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.