News & Opinion

The Sunday Times writes open letter in US newspaper

The Sunday Times has taken out an ad in a US newspaper with an open letter to Oprah Winfrey, who is due to interview Lance Armstrong later this week.

The letter, which lists 10 questions for Armstrong, also appeared in yesterday's Sunday Times (see below) alongside an article titled: "Armstrong rode away from deal to save titles" by David Walsh, chief sports writer at the newspaper.

In the article, Walsh claims that Armstrong was offered a deal from American anti-doping authorities, which would have allowed him to hold on to five of his Tour de France titles for admitting doping offenses. He could have also negotiated a shorter ban rather than the lifetime ban from sport that he is currently facing. Armstrong reportedly walked away from the deal to co-operate with USADA but 11 of his former team-mates gave evidence.

The cyclist is now expected to give an admission about doping in a television interview. The Sunday Times said the ad outlines "the 10 crucial questions Lance Armstrong should be asked when he gives an interview to Oprah Winfrey this week".

It appeared in yesterday's Chicago Tribune, the daily newspaper in the city where the Oprah Winfrey Network is based, and is signed by Walsh, "who has investigated Armstrong's cheating for more than a decade".

The Sunday Times article says: "Walsh first questioned Armstrong's performance after his first Tour de France win in 1999. Armstrong always denied the allegations and instead attacked Walsh's journalism".

The open letter starts: "Dear Oprah, I have spent the past 13 years investigating allegations that Lance Armstrong had taken performance-enhancing drugs. I have just been voted journalist of the year in the UK. Here are 10 questions I would ask Lance...".

The questions include: "Did you sue The Sunday Times to shut us up?" Armstrong sued the title in 2004 for libel. The case was settled out of court. The Sunday Times is now seeking to recover around $1.5 million. 


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