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Armstrong admits

Disgraced cyclist Lance Armstrong (left) speaking to Oprah Winfrey at his home.

Lance Armstrong has finally come clean.

Armstrong confessed to doping during an interview with Oprah Winfrey taped yesterday, just a couple of hours after a wrenching apology to staff at the Livestrong charity he founded and has now been forced to surrender.

The emotional day ended with 2? hours of questions from Winfrey at a downtown Austin hotel, where she said the world’s most famous cyclist was “forthcoming” as she asked him in detail about doping allegations that followed him throughout his seven Tour de France victories.

Speaking on CBS This Morning, Winfrey said today she had not planned to address Armstrong’s confession before the interview aired on her OWN network, but “by the time I left Austin [Texas] and landed in Chicago, you all had already confirmed it.

“So I’m sitting here now because it’s already been confirmed,” she added.

Cycling’s governing body is urging Lance Armstrong to testify before its independent commission about his doping past.

The International Cycling Union (UCI) says it is aware of media reports that Armstrong confessed to doping during an interview with Oprah Winfrey taped yesterday.

The federation says “if these reports are true, we would strongly urge Lance Armstrong to testify to the independent commission established to investigate the allegations made against the UCI in the recent USADA reasoned decision on Lance Armstrong and the United States Postal Service team.”

The UCI said it won’t make any further statement until it has viewed the interview, which is to be broadcast on Thursday night.

The UCI recently set up an independent panel to look into claims that it covered up suspicious samples from Armstrong, accepted financial donations from him and helped him avoid detection in doping tests.

The session was to be broadcast on Thursday, but Winfrey said it would now run in two parts over two nights because there was so much material.Winfrey would not characterize whether Armstrong seemed contrite but said he seemed ready for the interview.

“I would say he met the moment,” she said.

The confession was a stunning reversal for a proud athlete and celebrity who sought lavish praise in the court of public opinion and used courtrooms to punish his critics.

For more than a decade, Armstrong dared anybody who challenged his version of events to prove it. Finally, he told the tale himself after promising over the weekend to answer Winfrey’s questions “directly, honestly and candidly.”

The cyclist was stripped of his Tour de France titles, lost most of his endorsements and was forced to leave Livestrong last year after the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency issued a damning 1,000-page report that accused him of masterminding a long-running doping scheme.

Armstrong started the day with a visit to the headquarters of the Livestrong charity he founded in 1997 and turned into a global force on the strength of his athletic dominance and personal story of surviving testicular cancer that had spread to his lungs and brain. (AP)†††

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