Austin, Texas - Former champion cyclist Lance Armstrong apologised to staff of the cancer foundation he founded on Monday, the same day Oprah Winfrey is scheduled to interview him in what is widely expected to be his first admission of doping.
“He had a private conversation with the staff, who have done the important work of the foundation for many years,” said Livestrong cancer foundation spokesperson Katherine McLane.
“It was a very sincere and heartfelt expression of regret over any stress that they've suffered over the course of the last few years as a result of the media attention,” she said.
The apology came on the day that Armstrong was scheduled to tape an interview with Oprah Winfrey to air on Thursday - his first interview since being stripped of his seven Tour de France titles.
The disgraced cyclist plans to admit in the interview to doping throughout his career, USA Today reported on Saturday. McLane declined to comment on whether Armstrong will admit to doping during the interview.
Armstrong has always vehemently denied using performance-enhancing drugs and has never been proven to have tested positive.
But an October report from the US anti-doping body USADA cited Armstrong's involvement in what it characterised as the “most sophisticated, professionalised and successful doping programme that sport has ever seen,” involving anabolic steroids, human growth hormone, blood transfusions and other doping.
Less than two weeks later, Armstrong's seven Tour de France victories were nullified and he was banned from cycling for life after the International Cycling Union ratified the USADA's sanctions against him.
Armstrong, a survivor of testicular cancer, stepped down as a Livestrong board member in November. - Reuters