Oprah Winfrey promises tough grilling of disgraced cyclist Lance Armstrong

Armstrong-Oprah

Lance Armstrong will face a no-holds-barred interview with Oprah Winfrey, her cable TV network promised, as speculation mounted that the cycling icon might finally confess to being a drug cheat.

"Armstrong has no editorial control and no question is off-limits," Nicole Nichols of Winfrey's OWN cable TV network said, adding that the disgraced cyclist is getting no payment for the interview.

Nichols also said the 90-minute interview at Armstrong's home in Austin, Texas – to be aired January 17 on the OWN network and online worldwide – "is not live."

Asked when it would be recorded, she replied: "We are not confirming any further details."

It will be Armstrong's first interview since he was stripped in October of his Tour de France titles after the US Anti-Doping Agency said he helped orchestrate the most sophisticated doping program in cycling history.

Last week, The New York Times reported that Armstrong, 41, was considering publicly admitting that he used banned performance-enhancing drugs, in an apparent bid to return to competitive sport in marathons and triathlons.

While supporters hope the Oprah appearance allows Armstrong to draw a line under the affair and begin his rehabilitation after a very public fall from grace, some in the sport were not happy about the latest development.

British cyclist David Millar expressed concern over what he believes will be Armstrong's "stage-managed" appearance and said he should be questioned, instead, by an official body.

"Only Lance would get to have his moment of truth, if that's what it will be, in front of Oprah Winfrey," said Millar, who served a two-year ban after admitting doping in 2004 and then became a vocal campaigner against drugs in sport.

"It is not sitting in front of a judge or a disciplinary hearing being properly questioned about the things he has done wrong. I doubt very much it will be a proper interrogation," he added.

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