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  1. ITV Report

Lance Armstrong comes face to face with whistleblower

Lance Armstrong has come face to face with the whistleblower who first revealed the truth over the disgraced cyclist's drug taking.

He said his attempts to destroy former team assistant Emma O'Reilly's reputation were "inexcusable and embarrassing", during their first meeting since 2000.

O'Reilly, who worked for the US Postal Team that Armstrong represented in his first six Tour de France titles, spoke out against Armstrong and the doping culture in the sport.

Her job was to feed him, massage him, and take care of other things so Armstrong's full focus could be on cycling.

Lance Armstrong was stripped of his seven Tour de France titles last year

The former champion reacted to the revelations by calling the Dublin-born masseuse an "alcoholic w***e" and threatening her in legal proceedings which she feared would ruin her life.

The 42-year-old Texan said he was trying to make amends to the people who were personally affected by his actions, as he was not able to get around to each of every 10 million cancer survivors who supported him.

"I never expected to see Emma. I wanted to talk to her. I felt it was necessary to have a conversation because there were definitely people that got caught up in this story who deserved an apology from me," Armstrong said in a meeting which was attended by the Daily Mail's chief sports reporter Matt Lawton.

Lance Armstrong attempted to destroy Emma O'Reilly's reputation. Credit: ITV News

"When I reached out in January it was to talk. Emma, I appreciate, wasn't ready for that. But it's good that, tonight, we are doing this in person.

"At the time, when I said what I said about her, I was fighting to protect a lot of positions. But it was inexcusable. It's embarrassing.

"I was in a conference room, giving a legal deposition, and I had no idea it was going to get out. But that doesn't excuse it.

"I guess you should always assume that, in that setting, the whole world will watch it the next day.

"It was totally humiliating for Emma. And if I saw my son do that, there would be a f*****g war in our house."

Armstrong was banned for life from cycling following the doping revelations Credit: PA Wire

Following a private meeting over dinner with Armstrong, O'Reilly said she felt she now had "closure":

'It was a bit stilted because I guess we were two people who hadn't talked for a long time, who had more than a bit of history. But we had a chat about people we knew, about our families.

"I was thinking, he never actually used the word sorry. But I wasn't looking for an insincere apology.

Lance Armstrong met Presidents and other notable figures before his fall from grace. Credit: Reuters

"There are different ways of saying sorry and I felt what he did say was genuine.

"Now people might think I'm under Lance's spell but I'm not. I wasn't when I said what I did about him in 2004 and I'm not now. He was a jerk. He was a bully.

"But there are wider issues here and I wanted to address those, too. That said, I wanted closure with him and today I feel I have it. This part, for me, is over."

The pair commented on the importance of their meeting on Twitter:

Lance Armstrong admitted to doping to Oprah Winfrey in an explosive set of interviews in January.

Armstrong was banned for life from cycling in August 2012 and stripped of the seven Tour de France titles he won between 1999 and 2005.

The 42-year-old finally admitted to taking performance-enhancing drugs during his career in an explosive set of interviews with Oprah Winfrey in January.

Last month, the former cyclist vowed to testify with "100% transparency and honesty" at any future inquiry into doping.