Critics said he hadn’t been contrite enough in the firstt half of the interview, which was taped Monday in Austin, 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.’
“He said OK. He just said, ‘Look, I love you. You’re my dad. This won’t change that.’ "
Winfrey also drew Armstrong out on his ex-wife, Kristin, whom he claimed knew just enough about both the doping and lying to ask him to stop. He credited her with making him promise that his comeback in 2009 would be drug-free.
“She said to me, ‘You can do it under one condition: That you never cross that line again,’ " Armstrong recalled.
“The line of drugs?" Winfrey asked.
“Yes. And I said, ‘You’ve got a deal,’ " he replied. “And I never would have betrayed that with her."
Armstrong said in the first part of the interview that he had stayed clean in the comeback, a claim that runs counter to the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency report that exposed him as the leader of an elaborate doping scheme on his U.S. Postal Service cycling team.
And that wasn’t the only portion of the interview likely to rile anti-doping officials.
Winfrey asked Armstrong about a “60 Minutes Sports" interview in which USADA chief executive Travis Tygart said a representative of the cyclist had offered a donation that the agency turned down.
“Were you trying to pay off USADA?" she asked.
“No, that’s not true," he replied, repeating, “That is not true."
USADA spokeswoman Annie Skinner replied in a statement: “We stand by the facts both in the reasoned decision and in the ‘60 Minutes’ interview."