Lance Armstrong had to tell his oldest son the truth

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Lance Armstrong finally cracked.

Not the way anti-doping authorities hoped or as disillusioned fans wanted, while expressing deep remorse or regrets, though there was plenty of that in Friday night’s second part of Armstrong’s interview with Oprah Winfrey.

It wasn’t over the $75 million in lost sponsorship deals, nor when Armstrong was forced to walk away from the Livestrong cancer charity he founded and called his “sixth child.”

It wasn’t even about his lifetime ban from competition.

It was another bit of collateral damage that Armstrong said he wasn’t prepared to deal with.

“I saw my son defending me and saying, ‘That’s not true. What you’re saying about my dad is not true,’ ” Armstrong recalled.

“That’s when I knew I had to tell him.”

Armstrong was near tears at that point, referring to 13-year-old Luke, the oldest of his five children. It came just past the midpoint of an hourlong broadcast, a day after the disgraced cycling champion admitted using performance-enhancing drugs when he won seven consecutive Tour de France titles.

Critics said he hadn’t been contrite enough in the first half of the interview, taped Monday, but Armstrong seemed to lose his composure when Winfrey zeroed in on the emotional drama involving his personal life.

“What did you say?” Winfrey asked.

“I said, ‘Listen, there’s been a lot of questions about your dad. My career. Whether I doped or did not dope. I’ve always denied that and I’ve always been ruthless and defiant about that. You guys have seen that. That’s probably why you trusted me on it.’ Which makes it even sicker,” Armstrong said.

“And uh, I told Luke, I said,” and here Armstrong paused for a long time to collect himself, “I said, ‘Don’t defend me anymore. Don’t.’ ”

• Paramount Pictures and J.J. Abrams’ production company, Bad Robot, are planning a biopic about the disgraced cyclist, a studio spokeswoman said Friday.

They’ve secured the rights to New York Times reporter Juliet Macur’s upcoming book Cycle of Lies: The Fall of Lance Armstrong, due out in June. Macur covered the seven-time Tour de France winner for more than a decade.

No director, writer, star or start date have been set.

CONFESSION MIGHT LEAD TO LEGAL WOES

By admitting to Oprah Winfrey that he doped during his professional cycling career, Lance Armstrong potentially opened himself up to a stream of litigation that could lighten his wallet for years.

And then there’s the big question: Will his mea culpa result in the reopening of a criminal investigation by the U.S. government?

Some legal experts believe the disillusionment and anger now directed at Armstrong will force the government to re-examine its evidence in light of his admissions, but others say revisiting the criminal case is unlikely.

“There are no formal guidelines on reopening one, and the discretion is left to the prosecutor,” said Matthew Levine, a former federal prosecutor and a white-collar defense attorney in New York. “But generally there’s a lot of pressure not to reopen, especially where the declination has been made public. It does happen, but it’s quite rare.”

Last February, federal prosecutors in Los Angeles announced they were dropping their investigation into Armstrong.

No reason was given for the decision. Thom Mrozek, a spokesman for the U.S. attorney’s office, declined comment Friday.

– Associated Press


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