Lance Armstrong reportedly is weighing confessing to using performance-enhancing… (Thao Nguyen / Associated…)
Lance Armstrong said he will answer questions "directly, honestly and candidly" during an interview with Oprah Winfrey next week. He will also apologize and make a limited confession to using performance-enhancing drugs, according to a person with knowledge of the situation.
Armstrong has spent more than a decade denying that he doped to win the Tour de France seven times. Without saying whether he would confess or apologize during the taping, Armstrong told the Associated Press in a text message early Saturday, "I told her [Winfrey] to go wherever she wants and I'll answer the questions directly, honestly and candidly. That's all I can say."
A confession would be a stunning reversal for Armstrong after years of public statements, interviews and court battles from Austin to Europe in which he denied doping and zealously protected his reputation.
Armstrong was stripped of his titles and banned from the sport for life last year after the U.S. Anti-Doping agency issued a detailed report accusing him of leading a sophisticated and brazen drug program on his U.S. Postal Service teams that included steroids, blood boosters and a range of performance-enhancing drugs.
Armstrong's interview with Winfrey is not expected to go into great detail about specific allegations levied in the more than 1,000-page USADA report. But Armstrong will make a general confession and apologize, according to the person, who requested anonymity because there was no authorization to speak publicly. Several outlets had also reported that Armstrong was considering a confession.
Armstrong hasn't responded to the USADA report or being stripped of his Tour de France titles. But shortly afterward, he tweeted a picture of himself on a couch at home with all seven of the yellow leader's jerseys on display in a room at his home in Austin. He also agreed to be interviewed there, in what the Oprah Winfrey Network announced would be a "no-holds barred" session. That's scheduled to be taped Monday and broadcast Thursday night.
"His reputation is in crisis," said crisis management expert Mike Paul, president of New York-based, MGP & Associates PR. "Most people don't trust what comes out of his mouth. He has to be truly repentant and humble."
Jockey Gary Stevens gets first win in return
Hall of Fame jockey Gary Stevens, who has ridden three horses to victory in the Kentucky Derby, guided Branding to victory in the first race on Saturday at Santa Anita, his first win since his return from a seven-year retirement.
Stevens, 49, picked up victory No. 4,889 in his riding career. It was his third race since ending his retirement.
"You can consider me a full-time rider," he said.
Scott Jamieson of Scotland had a four-under 68 and took a five-shot lead in the Volvo Champions at Durban, South Africa, while Louis Oosthuizen faded in the third round.
Jamieson began the day a stroke behind the former British Open champion, but finished with a 15-under total to lead Oosthuizen (74), Thongchai Jaidee of Thailand (73) and Julien Quesne of France (67).
Padraig Harrington (67) and Francesco Molinari (68) were another two strokes back in the event for European Tour winners.
— Eric Sondheimer
Angels center fielder Mike Trout has informed tournament organizers that he will not play for Team USA in the World Baseball Classic in March, Trout's agent, Craig Landis, said Saturday.
Trout, no doubt, would have been a huge coup for the WBC — the 21-year-old was a unanimous selection for the American League rookie of the year and finished second in the MVP vote after hitting .326 with a .399 on-base percentage, .564 slugging percentage, 30 home runs, 83 runs batted in and 49 stolen bases.
Trout was among the game's top defensive players, leaping over the wall to rob opponents of four would-be homers, including a spectacular catch high above the wall in Baltimore's Camden Yards last May.
But Landis said that Trout "just wanted a regular spring-training preparation," so he opted to inform WBC officials before a formal invitation to play for the team was even extended to him.
New Angels outfielder Josh Hamilton, the former Texas Rangers star who signed a five-year, $125-million deal with the team in December, will not play in the WBC either.
— Mike DiGiovanna
Bernard Tomic of Australia won his first ATP title, beating South Africa's Kevin Anderson, 6-3, 6-7 (2), 6-3, in the final of the Sydney International in Australia.
Alice McKennis of the United States earned her first World Cup victory by winning a downhill Saturday at St. Anton, Austria, and Lindsey Vonn was sixth after returning from a nearly monthlong break.
McKennis had never finished in the top three before coming down the Karl Schranz course in 1 minute 14.62 seconds to beat Daniela Merighetti of Italy by .07 of a second.
Anna Fenninger of Austria was third, and overall World Cup leader Tina Maze of Slovenia finished fourth.
Vonn, the defending overall champion who returned to the circuit after recovering from an intestinal illness, was 0.34 behind, while her American teammate Laurenne Ross was fifth, 0.32 off the lead.
Ted Ligety won a duel with Marcel Hirscher in a World Cup giant slalom at Adelboden, Switzerland, for a career-best fourth victory of the season in his specialty event.
The 28-year-old American skied cleanly in the fast-fading light to take the victory after first-run leader Hirscher of Austria made a mistake on the dark slope. Ligety was second after the first run, but finished 1.15 seconds ahead of runner-up Fritz Dopfer of Germany in a combined time of 2 minutes 28.67 seconds.
Ligety, who earned his 15th career World Cup victory — all in giant slalom — is third in the overall standings.
Defending overall World Cup champion Sarah Hendrickson of the United States edged Sawra Takanashi of Japan in a ski jump event at Hinterzarten, Germany, for her second victory of the season.