In an interview with Global Cycling Network, recorded prior to Tuesday’s news that Lance Armstrong will appear in an Oprah Winfrey interview next week, Irish journalist David Walsh said he thought a tell-all interview might be Armstrong’s only path out of “purgatory.”
A decorated writer for The Sunday Times and the author of “L.A. Confidentiel” and “From Lance to Landis,” Walsh recently published a third book, “Seven Deadly Sins: My Pursuit of Lance Armstrong,” following Armstrong’s downfall at the hands of the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency; it will be available in the U.S. later this month.
In the first installment of his seven-part interview with GCN’s Daniel Lloyd, Walsh said that Armstrong’s critical mistake was underestimating former teammate Floyd Landis.
In the second installment, which has become even more significant following the news of Armstrong’s interview with Winfrey, Walsh spoke at length about Armstrong’s years of deception, and whether or not he might ever give a tell-all interview.
Armstrong is essentially stuck between a rock and a hard place, Walsh said — he must admit his wrongdoing to move on, but should he admit his wrongdoing, he will find it difficult to move on in the face of mounting lawsuits.
“Lots of people wonder about whether Lance is going to do a tell-all interview — turn up on Oprah Winfrey, or wherever, (David) Letterman or Jay Leno, and do his tell-all interview,” Walsh said. “I feel he has to do that to kind of rebuild his life, because he’s in a really bad place now, but the kind of practical difficulty he’s got is that once he admits that he did dope, people are going after him to get money back that they paid to him.”
Among those expected to claim damages from Armstrong upon a doping admission are SCA Promotions, Walsh’s Sunday Times newspaper, and the U.S. Postal Service, Armstrong’s longtime sponsor.
“If he admits he doped, those cases are all immediately lost — he then has no defense — so I believe his lawyers are telling him now, ‘Sit tight Lance, you cannot do that tell-all interview,’” Walsh said. “But his life remains in a kind of a purgatory. Telling all might be hell for a certain amount of time, but it gives him a chance to start climbing upwards out of there.
“Where he is now, he’s stuck, and I hope that he’s getting his financial stuff dealt with, and he’s going to do the tell-all interview, and admit to all the sins of the past — because until he does that, I don’t think he has any kind of future worth having.”