Former Armstrong teammate Andy Schleck not expecting TV confession
Andy Schleck of Luxembourg reacts during a press conference in Monaco, July 2, 2009. (AP / Bas Czerwinski)
Published Thursday, January 10, 2013 7:15AM EST
Last Updated Thursday, January 10, 2013 7:47AM EST
ADELAIDE, Australia -- Tour de France winner Andy Schleck says while Lance Armstrong may not continue to protest his innocence when he is interviewed by Oprah Winfrey, he may also avoid a full confession.
Schleck said a candid interview on Winfrey's cable network to be aired on Jan. 17 might help Armstrong win back some disillusioned fans, but it is unlikely he will fully admit using performance-enhancing drugs.
The Luxembourg rider, in Australia for the Tour Down Under, said, "I don't think (Armstrong) goes there to say he's innocent and that he didn't do anything. It's been many years. For him it's not easy -- the media, the pressure."
Schleck said he believed Armstrong had granted the interview to Winfrey "for a good reason. But if he confesses? We don't know."
The interview will be Armstrong's first in depth since he was stripped of his seven Tour de France titles after the revelations of an investigation by the United States Anti-Doping Agency. Schleck said he was shocked by the USADA evidence and conclusion that Armstrong oversaw one of the most sophisticated doping operations in sport.
"It shocked me," Schleck said. "Somehow, even three or four years ago we maybe knew that the Lance Armstrong era was not the cleanest in cycling so far. But I believe that since 2005 and 2006, with the biological passport, everything has changed for the new generation."
Schleck, who was awarded the 2010 Tour de France after Alberto Contador was disqualified for doping, said cycling would continue to see positive tests but numbers were fast diminishing.
"There will still be some guys positive again this year," he said. "But that's not necessarily a bad sign. That's a sign the system works.
"I don't believe in cycling they dope more. In every sport there's cheaters but in cycling they get caught. That's a good thing."
The Tour Down Under opens the 2013 ProTour. Schleck's RadioShack Leopard Trek team will not include his older brother Frank, who is awaiting the outcome of a disciplinary hearing after testing positive for a banned diuretic at last year's Tour de France.
Tour Down Under race director Mike Turtur, who lured Armstrong to the race in 2009, 2010 and 2011, also doubted Armstrong would make a full confession.
"Obviously, a confession would lead to other matters so I can't see that happening," he said. "But I'll be as interested as anyone else."