AUSTIN, Texas -- A person familiar with the situation says Lance Armstrong confessed to Oprah Winfrey during an interview Monday that he used performance-enhancing drugs to win the Tour de France.
The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the interview is to be broadcast Thursday on Winfrey's network.
A group of about 10 close friends and advisers to Armstrong left a downtown Austin hotel about three hours after they arrived Monday afternoon.
Earlier Monday, Armstrong stopped at his Livestrong Foundation and delivered a heartfelt apology to staff members, some of whom broke down in tears. The Livestrong Foundation confirmed that Armstrong choked up when he apologized to the staff of the non-profit he founded in 1997, saying he quote "offered a sincere and heartfelt apology for the stress they endured because of him." He urged them to keep up their great work fighting for people affected by cancer.
A person with knowledge of that meeting says Armstrong did not make a direct confession to the group about using banned drugs.
News outlets from all over the world are in Austin to cover one of the biggest sports headlines of the year. Live trucks, cameras and journalists filled Armstrong's West Austin neighborhood waiting on his arrival. Curious neighbors also stopped to ask questions and take photos of the media frenzy.
"I think Lance's main concern right now is that he stops the hemorrhaging to his name, and his business brand, and for that matter to his legacy," said public relations expert Dave Manzer.
Manzer says Armstrong made a wise choice when choosing Oprah for an interview because of her global brand and impressive reach.
"His opportunity today is to begin to show his human side, and Oprah is a great person for that," said Manzer.
Manzer says the American public is forgiving in the long run of people who are honest about past mistakes.
Armstrong's interview will air on Oprah's network Thursday Jan. 17 and stream on her website worldwide.
Armstrong was stripped of seven Tour de France titles last year for running what officials described as a sophisticated doping operation.