David Walsh, The Sunday Times reporter who led the way in exposing drugs cheat Lance Armstrong, wants a third meeting with the US cyclist to address unanswered questions over the doping scandal.
Armstrong told chat show host Oprah Winfrey that he would be willing to apologise to the reporter. During the second part of the Oprah interview broadcast over the weekend, Armstrong was asked: “Do you owe David Walsh an apology, who for 13 years has pursued this story, who wrote for The Sunday Times, who has now written books about your story and about this entire process?”
Armstrong replied: “I’d apologise to David.”
The cyclist was left “seething with anger” after their last face-to-face encounter in 2001, when Walsh told him: “I don’t believe you’re clean, but this is why I’m here, because I have questions.
“But the only questions I want to ask you are about doping. I won’t be asking you one question about cycling outside of the context of doping.”
Armstrong would later go on to publicly vilify Walsh, telling one newspaper: "Walsh is the worst journalist I know. Ethics, standards, values, accuracy - these are of no interest to people like Walsh."
Armstrong was quoted in a 2004 book by Daniel Coyle saying: “I just hate the guy. He’s a little troll.”
Writing in The Sunday Times yesterday, Walsh said he watched Armstrong’s offer of an apology “almost dispassionately”, adding: “…but it makes me think. Would I like to speak to him again? Probably.”
During the first part of the interview, Oprah asked if there was happiness in the winning. He replied, “There was more happiness in the process, in the build, in the preparation.”
That makes sense because for me too: the hunt was better than the kill. I do not expect or want an apology but I would like a third meeting because I have got a lot of questions. Oprah started something three nights ago, a very modest first step on the road to the truth in Armstrong’s story.
If he commits himself to the journey, he will be surprised how far he can go.
Last week The Sunday Times said its £1m fraud case against Armstrong had been “strengthened” after his Oprah confession.