"Lance became a national hero in the wake of his truly inspiring fight against cancer back in the 1990s," said a source close to Armstrong. "He's really in a bind right now and he's going to need all the public sympathy he can get to make it through this."
While there are no indications that Armstrong has cancer, the flu or AIDS, a close friend says it can't be proven that Armstrong doesn't have those illnesses either.
"Lance got a flu shot, it's true. But the flu is especially bad this year," said the friend. "And Lance has felt a little under the weather the last few days. Is it the flu? Is it cancer? Is it AIDS? I could very well be all three. Maybe even diabetes, too. We won't definitely know for sure until tests are taken, but that won't be done until after the Oprah interview."
It's not yet clear how the topic of Armstrong's health will come up in the interview, but the cyclist has been practicing working it in during interview preparations.
"Probably how it will go is that when Oprah asks him if he ever blood doped, Lance will start to answer and then go 'Ouch! Ouch! My AIDS! My AIDS is so painful right now!'" said a source. "And then hopefully the interview will go in a different direction from there."
If that doesn't work, Armstrong is planning to produce from his coat pocket a jar containing his removed testicle. If that doesn't work, Armstrong plans to just have his attorneys sue Winfrey.