USADA chief: Never too late for Armstrong to tell truth

(CBS News) We've learned that former cycling champion Lance Armstrong is in discussions to return a part of the millions in taxpayer dollars received by his U.S. Postal Service team. Armstrong's U.S. Postal sponsorship prohibited illegal doping. He's also indicated a willingness to testify against others involved in illegal doping.

Last year, Armstrong was stripped of his titles after an investigation found systematic doping on the team. We're told senior officials at the Justice Department have recommended that the government join that suit against Armstrong.

Today, the Associated Press reported that Armstrong apologized to the staff of his Livestrong cancer charity before heading into an interview with Oprah Winfrey in which Armstrong is expected to acknowledge cheating. Recently, we spoke to Travis Tygart, the head of the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency, in his only interview for the Showtime program "60 Minutes Sports." It was Tygart who made the case against Armstrong.

SCOTT PELLEY: Some of the words that you used in outlining your case were "drug possession," "trafficking," "cover-up," "conspiracy." You described Lance Armstrong as, quote, "the enforcer" end quote. Pretty tough stuff.

TRAVIS TYGART: Serious business. The evidence was serious.

PELLEY: Why'd you use those words? What led you to describe it in that way? It -- it reads like a mafia conspiracy.

TYGART: Scott, we heard the evidence. We heard the stories from the athletes. And it supported, without question, every allegation that we put in that letter that, obviously, now has been shown to be true.

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PELLEY: And so when Lance Armstrong essentially threw in the towel after all this, you were surprised? Not surprised?

TYGART: Not surprised. Again, we were disappointed he didn't come in and be part of the solution. It's one of the lowest days of this investigation, quite honestly. But we knew, when he rejected that opportunity for redemption and to be part of the solution at that time, that this was his only option, to avoid all this evidence from ever coming through in open court.

PELLEY: If you had an opportunity to have that meeting with Lance Armstrong, you could say one thing to him, what would it be?

TYGART: It's never too late to tell the truth and make it right.

Oprah Winfrey's first stop after her interview with Armstrong will be on CBS This Morning tomorrow, with Charlie Rose, Norah O'Donnell and Gayle King.

  • Scott Pelley

    Correspondent, "60 Minutes"