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Son's innocence prompted Armstrong's confession

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CHICAGO -- Lance Armstrong finally cracked.

Not the way anti-doping authorities hoped or as disillusioned fans wanted, while expressing deep remorse or regrets, though there was plenty of that in Friday night's second part of Armstrong's interview with Oprah Winfrey.

It wasn't over the $75 million in lost sponsorship deals, nor when Armstrong was forced to walk away from the Livestrong cancer charity he founded and called his "sixth child." It wasn't even about his lifetime ban from competition.

It was another bit of collateral damage that Armstrong said he wasn't prepared to deal with.

"I saw my son defending me and saying, 'That's not true. What you're saying about my dad is not true,"' Armstrong recalled.

"That's when I knew I had to tell him."

Armstrong was near tears at that point, referring to 13-year-old Luke, the oldest of his five children. It came just past the midpoint of an hourlong broadcast, a day after the disgraced cycling champion admitted using performance-enhancing drugs when he won seven straight Tour de France titles.

Critics said he hadn't been contrite enough in the first half of the interview, taped Monday, but Armstrong seemed to lose his composure when Winfrey zeroed in on the emotional drama involving his personal life.

"What did you say?" Winfrey asked.

"I said, 'Listen, there's been a lot of questions about your dad. My career. Whether I doped or did not dope. I've always denied that and I've always been ruthless and defiant about that. You guys have seen that. That's probably why you trusted me on it.' Which makes it even sicker," Armstrong said.

"And uh, I told Luke, I said," and here Armstrong paused for a long time to collect himself, "I said, 'Don't defend me anymore. Don't.' "

Blue Jays sign trio

TORONTO -- The Toronto Blue Jays have avoided arbitration with left-handed pitcher J.A. Happ, infielder Emilio Bonifacio and catcher Josh Thole.

Happ and Bonifacio signed one-year deals worth US$3.7-million and $2.6 million respectively.

Thole signed a two-year contract worth $2.5 million, with a club option for the 2015 season worth $1.75 million.

-- from the news services

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition January 19, 2013 C8

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