IRISH JOURNALIST PAUL Kimmage has criticised the manner in which Oprah Winfrey conducted her much-discussed interview with Lance Armstrong, describing the encounter as “too cosy” and adding:
“I don’t know whether it was that she had a lack of knowledge of the sport or fundamentally wanted to be his friend.”
Speaking on Newstalk’s Off the Ball show, Kimmage said that the interview “started fantastically well, but it became frustrating”.
He suggested there were key “moments” when follow-up questions were required and none were forthcoming, adding: “I came very close to putting my boot through the TV.”
Kimmage said Oprah should have pushed for more detail on how he got a prescription for banned cortisone after he tested positive for it, on the “shady dealings” which he referred to regarding the UCI and to “tell us how [Armstrong] treated the heroes” who refused to dope on the tour.
“I don’t understand how she didn’t pick up on [the shady dealings remark],” he added.
In relation to the conspicuous lack of information given about the UCI, Kimmage said: “I’d say they were thrilled with what happened last night.”
As regards Oprah, he added: “She almost taps him on the knee [at one stage]. It was a bit cosy.”
Kimmage claimed Armstrong’s “only regret was that he got got caught” and described him as “a poster boy for omerta”.
“He’s not going to talk about team managers or team sponsors who turned a blind eye.”
Asked whether he believed Armstrong’s claim that he didn’t dope after his comeback to cycling, he said:
“This guy is a cheat – don’t tell me he had a sudden conversion. That isn’t how he worked.”
Kimmage concluded the interview by warning the current crop of top cyclists, particularly Bradley Wiggins and Mark Cavendish, not to go down the Lance Armstrong route, criticising British cycling coach Sir Dave Brailsford in the process:
“I am going to have a go at Sir Dave Brailsford – you need to take these guys aside and remind them you’re paying them massive money. With reward comes responsibility. They need to be sat down and told the history of the sport.
“Brailsford should not indulge that behaviour because these two guys are behaving like spoilt brats.”
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