Piers Morgan has little sympathy for Lance Armstrong, the American cycling icon who now faces being stripped of his seven Tour de France titles amid an ongoing doping investigation.
"Nice guy that Lance Armstrong -- a nasty, vengeful bully as well as the world's biggest sporting cheat," the outspoken CNN host wrote on his Twitter feed on Saturday morning, in a tweet that also linked to a front-page story in the New York Times.
In that story, Emma O'Reilly, an assistant who worked with Armstrong's Tour de France team in the late-1990s, reveals specifics about the extent to which the cyclists were brazenly injecting and swallowing a wide array of banned, performance-enhancing substances.
O'Reilly describes in the interview how she was expected to procure the drugs for Armstrong and his teammates, dispose of syringes and other damning evidence whenever inspectors were near, and even used her skills with makeup to cover up the needle marks on cyclists' arms.
"You know enough to bring me down," O'Reilly says Armstrong once told her while she gave him a leg massage.
Four years after she left the team in 2000, she did reveal what she saw for a book called L.A. Confidentiel: Les Secrets to Lance Armstrong -- an explosive tell-all that was also excerpted in The Sunday Times of London. Armstrong sued O'Reilly and the Sunday Times, and, O'Reilly says, he described her to the media as "a prostitute with a drinking problem."
In 2012, her testimony would become a key part of the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency's investigation into Armstrong, a case that seeks to ban Armstrong for life from the sport.
"He's the biggest cheat in sporting history and those still lauding him as a 'brave hero' need to ssssshhhh. @lancearmstrong #LiveWrong," Morgan later tweeted, referencing Armstrong's hugely successful cancer research foundation, LiveStrong.
"Every penny Armstrong won, earned in sponsorship, or raised for charity is as tainted as his blood was from the drugs he took to cheat," the angry talk show host went on.
Still, knowing a good ratings grab when he sees one, Morgan did extend an invitation to Armstrong to appear on his CNN show, Piers Morgan Tonight.
"Yes, I would LOVE to interview @lancearmstrong -- but he hasn't got the guts. Or have you, Lance? #LiveWrong," he wrote.
The International Cycling Union will come to a verdict by the end of October as to whether or not Armstrong will be formally stripped of his titles. If they choose to do so, it will be an unprecedented blot on the 109-year-old sports event, leaving the Tour de France with no official winner from 1999 to 2005.
- Piers Morgan
- Lance Armstrong