IRISH JOURNALIST DAVID Walsh has suggested a Lance Armstrong interview with The Sunday Times could be on the cards.
Speaking on The Late Late Show last night, Walsh hinted that Armstrong would be willing to sit down for a chat with the paper who he famously sued at one point, after they suggested he was guilty of doping.
In light of the disgraced cyclist’s admission that he doped, the paper is now seeking to regain the £900,000 out-of-court settlement they previously paid him, and Walsh indicated an interview could become part of any subsequent deal that is reached between the two parties.
Asked about his reaction to Armstrong telling Oprah he would apologise to Walsh, the journalist added:
“My feeling was ‘Lance, I don’t need an apology,’ I’d far rather get the chance to interview him.”
He said he was not satisfied with the cyclist’s two-and-a-half-hour sit-down with Oprah, explaining that “a lot of stuff remained unanswered”.
“His apologies weren’t heartfelt. Emotionally, he didn’t seem like he meant it.
“He was like a person who wants to grieve at a funeral, but emotionally, he can’t do it.”
Walsh also described his interpretations of Armstrong’s body language during the recent interview with Oprah.
“When he gave an answer, you could see a smirk across his face,” he said. “He didn’t want to do that – it was an involuntary reaction.”
In addition, The Sunday Times journalist recalled how “stressful it was at the time,” highlighting, in particular, Armstrong’s poor treatment of his one-time assistant, Emma O’Reilly.
“He said there were issues with Emma – issues involving members of the team. He implied Emma had improper relationships with members of the team.
“I believed Lance doped from his first tour. We did the interview – and Emma told me everything that happened.”
He continued: “It shows the arrogance of Armstrong and his team – they presumed she’d keep the secrets even though she was badly treated.
“[The interview] was my Christmas – this was the most revealing interview I’d ever get.”
Walsh also told of how the Armstrong case was not something he could easily forget.
“[Chasing Armstrong] was an obsession. I remember going to the golf in Augusta. The guy beside me in the airport had a yellow [Livestrong] wristband.
“I pointed at his wristband and I said: ‘You know that guy’s a fraud.’ I said: ‘I know he cheats, I’m a journalist.’ The guy thought I was completely mad.”
Walsh added that the personal way in which Armstrong analysed his motives was hurtful to him.
“Lance discussed my relationship with my son John. He said it was sick that I should describe John as ‘my favourite son’.
“He said the reason I had a vendetta against cycling was because my son was killed on a bicycle.”
Speaking on the same show, Emma O’Reilly said she was similarly unimpressed for the most part with the Oprah interview, describing Armstrong’s answers as “the language of a man who’s lost 75 million dollars in one day”.
She added: “I thought: ‘Lance, you needed more practice. He’s not sorry.’
“In the interview, when he said ‘Emma got rolled over’ – that was a really emotional moment, because he actually told the truth.
“I realised then how much it had actually hurt me.”
O’Reilly revealed that she would be willing to meet up with Armstrong at a future date on the condition that there were no members of the media present, saying: “Otherwise, it’d be Lance playing to the cameras.”
She described the disgraced cyclist as “pleasant” before he eventually turned on her, and insisted: “We did have a really good relationship.”