IOC vice president Bach says Armstrong needs to ‘stop burying his head in the sand’
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Tuesday, October 16, 2012

IOC vice president Bach says Armstrong needs to ‘stop burying his head in the sand’

by Shane Stokes at 3:41 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Doping
States decision about 2000 Olympic medal will be made in due course

Lance ArmstorngIOC vice president Thomas Bach has called on Lance Armstrong to admit doping during his career, saying that he believes the American and cycling itself would benefit from such an action.

“For this procedure to be comprehensive, it would be good for the sport and for himself if Lance Armstrong would stop burying his head in the sand and come clean with a complete and open testimony,” the German told Reuters. “It is late but not too late; it would be a cleansing process.”

Armstrong’s image has taken a hammering around the world in the past week, with the thousand pages of evidence released by USADA convincing many that there is no longer any doubt that he an the US Postal Service team engaged in widespread doping for many years.

A total of 26 people gave sworn testimony in connection with the case, eleven of whom were past team-mates of Armstrong. They spoke of their own use of banned substances, while also painting a picture of a team leader and partial owner who encouraged and coerced others to take the products in order to help him win the Tour seven times.

Armstrong sought to overturn USADA’s charges in the federal courts and when that proved unsuccessful, he unexpectedly walked away, giving up his defence. The Texan did so despite knowing that he would face a lifetime ban and also lose his Tour titles.

For many, that action convinced them that he had something to hide. While some fans hold out, their ever-dwindling number is dwarfed by those who accept that he wasn’t truthful when he insisted he never doped.

USADA stripped all of his results from August 1998. He consequently stands to lose the silver medal he took in the 2000 Olympic time trial, although this remains to be confirmed. Bach has said that a process needs to be followed before the final outcome is known.

“This case is now with the UCI (International Cycling Union) which has to determine whether Armstrong should have taken part in the Sydney Olympics or not,” he said.

“If the case is that he should not have taken part, that he should have been banned for that period, then the IOC will take its decision on this basis and will need to decide on the stripping of the medal.”

Those Games took place twelve years ago and therefore falls outside the normal eight year range of the statute of limitations. However Bach pointed to USADA’s reasoning that previous testimony given by Armstrong that he hadn’t doped will allow that eight year limitation to be waived, saying that the IOC will study this logic.

“USADA's report has given some pointers that the statute of limitation was interrupted through Lance Armstrong lying about doping,” he explained. “We will have to examine to see if this is a way we can follow according to Swiss law.”

As for the suggestions that the UCI might have been involved in helping Armstrong cover up his drug use, Bach said that he believed the governing body will ‘react in a comprehensive and appropriate way.’ He stated that the process from this point is a transparent one, and that he believed the correct outcome will be reached.


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