From the moment Lance Armstrong radically reversed tactics — admitting that he used performance-enhancing drugs — he started banking that his confession will have value in two arenas that have nothing to do with Oprah Winfrey’s television ratings or his standing in the public eye.
One is the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency, which has the latitude to shorten his lifetime ban from competition. The other is the U.S. Justice Department, which is weighing whether to join a whistleblower suit that could cost him nearly $100 million.
Confessing his doping after years of vehement denials won’t be enough to prevail in either arena, according to those close to the situation. The interview with Winfrey — the specifics of which have not been revealed — is a mere baby step on a longer, more difficult road to redemption.