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Armstrong to break silence in Oprah interview

MOVES TUES DEC 21 Seven-time Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong awaits the start of the 2010 Cape Argus Cycle Tour in Cape Town March 14,
MOVES TUES DEC 21 Seven-time Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong awaits the start of the 2010 Cape Argus Cycle Tour in Cape Town March 14,

By Simon Evans

(Reuters) - Lance Armstrong will break his silence about his lifetime ban from cycling and the doping charges made against him in a televised interview with Oprah Winfrey next week, the television presenter announced on Tuesday.

The interview, to be broadcast on the Oprah Winfrey Network on January 17, will be the first the American cyclist has conducted since receiving his ban and being stripped of his seven Tour de France titles.

"Armstrong will address the alleged doping scandal, years of accusations of cheating, and charges of lying about the use of performance-enhancing drugs throughout his storied cycling career," the network said in a statement.

On Saturday, the New York Times reported that Armstrong, 41, had told associates and anti-doping officials he was considering an admission of using banned drugs.

The Times said Armstrong hoped to persuade anti-doping officials to allow him to resume competition in athletic events that adhere to the World Anti-Doping Code, under which the Texan is currently subject to a lifetime ban.

However, Armstrong's lawyer Tim Herman later told USA Today that there had been no talks with anti-doping bodies about any admission.

Armstrong has always vehemently denied charges of doping and has never been proven to have tested positive.

An October 10 report from the U.S. anti-doping body USADA cited Armstrong's involvement in what it characterized as the "most sophisticated, professionalized and successful doping program 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.

In November, Armstrong, a survivor of testicular cancer, stepped down as a board member of Livestrong, the cancer-support charity he founded in 1997.

(Reporting By Simon Evans in Miami; Editing by Peter Rutherford)

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