Lance Armstrong, the disgraced US cyclist stripped of his seven Tour de France titles last year, will breaks his silence on the doping allegations that destroyed his career in a “no-holds-barred" interview with chat show host Oprah Winfrey.
News of the interview, which will be broadcast on 17 January, comes days after a report in the New York Times suggested Armstrong was considering publicly admitting to using performance-enhancing drugs.
Any confession would be welcomed by Sunday Times publisher News International, which reached an out-of-court settlement understood to have cost around £600,000 in 2006 over an article linking Armstrong with allegations of doping.
The paper last month confirmed (£) it had issued proceedings against Armstrong over his libel action with the total claim likely to exceed £1m.
Any admission is also likely to affect the criminal complaint made by former Sunday Times journalist Paul Kimmage against International Cycling Union president Pat McQuaid and honorary president Hein Verbruggen
In October the UCI, McQuaid and Verbruggen announced they were suspending a defamation action against Kimmage pending the results of an independent report, only for the former pro-cyclist to launch legal proceedings of his own.
A statement on oprah.com described the interview as "no-holds-barred" and said it would address "years of accusations of cheating, and charges of lying about the use of performance-enhancing drugs throughout his storied cycling career”.
Despite a mass of evidence indicating Armstrong’s use of performance-enhancing drugs and blood transfusions, the cyclist has consistently denied any wrongdoing.
The NYT report last Friday quoted several unnamed sources suggesting Armstrong could now admit to doping offences in a bid to “restore his eligibility so he can resume his athletic career”.
While backers of Armstrong’s Livestrong charity were said to have put pressure on Armstrong to confess, the NYT noted that “several legal cases stand in the way of a confession”, including the case being pursued by News International.