Lance Armstrong
Lance Armstrong

Lance Armstrong has admitted taking performance-enhancing drugs and could now implicate some of the sport's most respected figures in the scandal which has wrecked his career.

Armstrong, who won a historic seven Tour de France titles before quitting cycling amid a string of drug abuse accusations, admitted to US talkshow host Oprah Winfrey that he used illegal substances to gain an edge on his rivals.

Now Armstrong is reportedly ready to betray the owner and members of his former team, United States Postal Service, who allegedly knew about the cheating and even helped him deceive the drug testers.

According to the New York Times, very senior figures with influential connections could be sucked into the scandal should Armstrong spill the beans. One person who could apparently be named is high up in the cycling's ruling body with links to the International Olympic Committee (IOC).

However it is understood that Armstrong is not willing to name fellow riders directly.

Talking to Winfrey in Austin, Texas, in an interview which has yet to be broadcast, Armstrong said he was not the kingpin in a giant conspiracy, as alleged by anti-doping agents. Instead, he said he only copied what teammates were doing.

It was Armstrong's fellow Postal Service rider, Floyd Landis, who first reported him for doping in 2010.

Will he compete again?

It is reported that Armstrong, who is separated from singer Cheryl Crowe, wants to compete again and will implicate others in an attempt to curry favour with officials at the International Olympic Committee (IOC).

This in spite of a spate of lurid allegations against Armstrong, including the claim that he stored his blood in fridges at the home he shared with Crowe.

It is likely that Armstrong will have to repay millions of dollars in endorsements from the Postal Service, which sponsored his participation in the Tour de France. The final figure could be up to $30m.

Armstrong was forced to stand down from his own Livestrong charity to ensure it was not tarnished by his own sullied reputation.