'We expect Lance to be completely truthful': Livestrong

AUSTIN, Texas Wed Jan 16, 2013 9:05pm IST

Lance Armstrong talks to the media at a news conference to kick off the Livestrong global cancer campaign in Australia at the Royal Adelaide Hospital January 19, 2009. REUTERS/Brandon Malone/Files

Lance Armstrong talks to the media at a news conference to kick off the Livestrong global cancer campaign in Australia at the Royal Adelaide Hospital January 19, 2009.

Credit: Reuters/Brandon Malone/Files

AUSTIN, Texas (Reuters) - The cancer foundation that Lance Armstrong founded said on Wednesday that it anticipates the former cyclist will be "completely truthful" in his chat with Oprah Winfrey set to air Thursday and Friday.

"We expect Lance to be completely truthful and forthcoming in his interview and with all of us in the cancer community," the Austin, Texas-based Livestrong Foundation said in a statement.

Armstrong's reported admission to Winfrey that he used performance-enhancing drugs during his cycling career comes after he has been banned for life and stripped of his seven Tour de France victories as a result of the doping scandal.

"Regardless, we are charting a strong, independent course forward that is focused on helping people overcome financial, emotional and physical challenges related to cancer," the statement said.

"Inspired by the people with cancer whom we serve, we feel confident and optimistic about the Foundation's future and welcome an end to speculation," Livestrong said in the statement.

The foundation, founded in 1997 and known for its yellow bracelets, advocates for cancer survivors and provides free services to help people affected by cancer navigate financial, emotional and other challenges.

Over the years, it has raised more than $500 million. The foundation said its 2013 budget is 10.9 percent less than its 2012 budget.

Armstrong, a survivor of testicular cancer, stepped down as a Livestrong board member in November. The foundation, originally called the Lance Armstrong Foundation but known informally for years as Livestrong, formally dropped Armstrong's name from its title in October.

Armstrong, who lives in Austin, visited the foundation staff earlier this week.

"He expressed his regret for the stress the team suffered in recent years as a result of the controversy surrounding his cycling career," the foundation's statement said. "He asked that they stay focused on serving people affected by cancer, something our team has always done excellently and will continue to do."

(Editing by Barbara Goldberg and Maureen Bavdek)

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