Last minute Armstrong contact to USADA means rider might agree to giving crucial evidence
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Thursday, February 7, 2013

Last minute Armstrong contact to USADA means rider might agree to giving crucial evidence

by Shane Stokes at 5:45 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Doping
Tygart: ‘We understand that he does want to be part of the solution, to assist to clean up the sport of cycling’

Lance ArmstrongGiven a deadline of yesterday to come forward and give sworn evidence to USADA, Lance Armstrong has initiated contact just before the cut off point and secured an extension in time from the agency.

USADA CEO Travis Tygart has confirmed that an additional fortnight has been granted to the former pro, who was handed sanctioned by USADA last August when he decided not to fight the serious doping charges against him.

“We have been in communication with Mr. Armstrong and his representatives and we understand that he does want to be part of the solution and assist in the effort to clean up the sport of cycling,” Tygart confirmed yesterday. “We have agreed to his request for an additional two weeks to work on details to hopefully allow for this to happen.”

Armstrong was handed a lifetime ban by USADA and also had all of his results post August 1st 1998 stripped from him. He continued to deny doping until recently, but last month reversed his position and admitted to Oprah Winfrey that he had used banned substances for many years.

When asked by her if he felt hard done by as regards the sanction he was given and if he hoped a relaxation in the duration of his ban was possible, he confirmed that he would like this to happen.

“If you are asking me if I want to compete again, the answer is hell, yes,” he said, with some enthusiasm. “I am a competitor. I love to race. But I don’t expect it to happen. It's what I've done my whole life. I love to train. I love to race. I love to toe the line.”

Asked by Winfrey if he wanted to return to the peloton, he said that he didn’t think about riding another Tour de France. “But if there was ever a window, would I like to run the Chicago Marathon when I'm 50? I would love to do that. But right now I can’t run the Austin 10k. I can’t do anything that is sanctioned.”

USADA confirmed after that show that it would consider giving him a reduction but only in the case when he gave sworn evidence and spoke the full truth. The WADA Code allows athletes to have their lifetime ban downscaled to eight years providing they give information which is significantly helpful in the fight against doping; to avail of that, Armstrong would have to tell everything he knows and provide information that could lead to others being punished for their roles.

Despite saying that he would not speak to USADA, an agency he had unsuccessful preliminary talks with last year, Armstrong now appears to have modified his position.

The next two weeks will determine how willing he is to cooperate and, longer term, what repercussions there will be for others if he does indeed give the full truth about what took place during his career and who enabled it to occur.


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