Armstrong apologises to Livestrong staff

Disgraced US cyclist Lance Armstrong last night apologised to the staff at his Livestrong foundation before heading to an interview in a Texan hotel with Oprah Winfrey.

Katherine McLane, a spokesperson for the foundation, which raises money for cancer research around the world, said: “He had a private conversation with the staff, who have done the important work of the foundation for many years.”

McLane said Armstrong apologised for letting the staff down and putting Livestrong at risk but he did not make a direct confession to the group about using banned substances throughout his career.

He said he would try to restore the foundation’s reputation, and urged the group to continue fighting for the charity’s mission of helping cancer patients and their families.

After the meeting, Armstrong, his legal team and advisers gathered at an Austin hotel for the interview.

It is believed the cyclist will make a limited confession to Winfrey about his role as the head of a long-running strategy to dominate the Tour de France with the aid of performance-enhancing drugs, a source told Associated Press.

Winfrey and her crew had earlier said they would film the interview, to be broadcast Friday morning (2am Irish time), at Armstrong's home but the location apparently changed to a hotel. Local and international news crews staked out the cyclist’s villa before dawn, hoping to catch a glimpse of Winfrey or Armstrong.

During a jog on Sunday last, Armstrong talked to the AP for a few minutes saying, “I’m calm, I’m at ease and ready to speak candidly.”

Meanwhile, anonymous sources last night revealed to the USA Today newspaper that Armstrong will attempt to mend his relationship with former US Postal teammate Floyd Landis as part of his plans to confess his doping past.

At present, Landis’ whistle-blower suit against Armstrong, whereby the former alleges that the US Postal Service was defrauded is still in train, with the US Justice Department considering joining.

Neither Armstrong nor Landis responded to USA Today regarding the report.

* The Oprah interview with Lance Armstrong will be will be streamed LIVE worldwide on Oprah.com and http://Facebook.com/owntv this Friday, Jan 17 from 2am.

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