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KAHULUI, MAUI (HawaiiNewsNow) -
Oprah Winfrey calls it the "biggest interview of her career" in terms of exposure.
Cyclist Lance Armstrong's confession that he used performance-enhancing drugs may never have happened - had it not been for a secret meeting right here in Hawaii.
"It's a confession that many in the sports world never expected to hear," says the anchor on CBS News. Winfrey told CBS that Armstrong was thoughtful and forthcoming in their two-and-a-half hour interview - where the 41 year old cyclist finally admitted to doping.
Winfrey recalls, "The answers that people around the world have been waiting to hear were answered, and I can only say I was satisfied by the answer."
Monday's interview in Armstrong's hometown of Austin, Texas, may never have happened if Hawaii wasn't such a vacation destination. A couple months ago, Winfrey emailed Armstrong on the off-chance he'd agree to an interview.
She says, "He emailed me back and said he wasn't ready to talk and that he would be in Hawaii over the holidays. And he knew that I had a place in Hawaii and that maybe we could get together for lunch."
What followed was a super secret meeting at her Kula ranch. "He came to visit me on Maui. He lives on another island. So, he flew over ..." Gayle King interrupted the CBS interview, "And Oprah, you should say you cleared out the house." Winfrey answered, "… cleared out the house. I had guests in the house. Everybody had to clear out - go to the beach, go to the beach, go to the beach now!"
Winfrey prepared 112 questions for this past Monday's no-holds-barred, no-lawyers-present interview. They covered allegations of doping, cheating, and lying. Hawaii cyclists say his admission is unfortunate, but it won't change their sport.
"Most of us ride for our own reasons," says Chad Taniguchi, Executive Director of the Hawaii Bicycling League. "We want to be healthy. We want to save money. We want to save the environment. We want be on a team that races, and none of that's going to change."
Hawaii viewers can watch the Armstrong-Winfrey, two-part interview on Thursday and Friday on the Oprah Winfrey Network. The interview will also be streamed live on Oprah.com.
The talk show queen says she wanted to keep the interview so top secret that she carried the videotapes in her handbag on the plane, instead of sending them via satellite.