Armstrong declines to cooperate with USADA, lawyer states he would speak to Truth and Reconciliation process
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Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Armstrong declines to cooperate with USADA, lawyer states he would speak to Truth and Reconciliation process

by Shane Stokes at 2:54 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Doping
Processes against Bruyneel, Celaya and Marti continue but no date yet for hearings

Lance ArmstrongAny possibility that Lance Armstrong might be able to get a reduction in his lifetime ban from competition became less likely today with confirmation from both his lawyer Tim Herman and from the US Anti Doping Agency that he would not cooperate with the latter’s investigation into cycling.

On February 6th USADA CEO Travis Tygart confirmed that an earlier deadline for Armstrong to cooperate had been extended after he got in contact. “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,” said Tygart then, adding that Armstrong had been given an additional two weeks to speak.

That deadline was due to expire today. Herman has responded by issuing a statement saying that Armstrong had decided not to speak to USADA, but would do so if a truth and reconciliation commission is set up.

“Lance is willing to cooperate fully and has been very clear: He will be the first man through the door, and once inside will answer every question, at an international tribunal formed to comprehensively address pro cycling, an almost exclusively European sport,” he said.

“We remain hopeful that an international effort will be mounted, and we will do everything we can to facilitate that result. In the meantime, for several reasons, Lance will not participate in USADA’s efforts to selectively conduct American prosecutions that only demonize selected individuals while failing to address the 95% of the sport over which USADA has no jurisdiction.”

No guarantee truth and reconciliation will happen:

While the UCI has said that it may be willing to hold a truth and reconciliation process, it has said that factors such as budget, the cooperation of WADA and others plus more issues would be taken into account. At this point in time it is far from certain such a process will take place.

Last August Armstrong was handed a lifetime ban by USADA and also had all of his results from mid-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.

Asked by her if he hoped to get a reduction to his sanction by cooperating, he said that he would embrace that opportunity should it occur.

“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.”

When Winfrey asked if he wanted to do another Tour de France, he said that a return competition would likely be in a different sport. “If there was ever a window, would I like to run the Chicago Marathon when I'm 50? I would love to do that,” he said. “But right now I can’t run the Austin 10k. I can’t do anything that is sanctioned.”

As the sanctioning body, USADA made it clear that it was the body that Armstrong needed to speak to. WADA did likewise. Under its Code, a substantial reduction in a doping penalty is possible if the person in question provides substantial assistance.

However the Texan has now chosen not to do so. “We have provided Mr. Armstrong several opportunities to assist in our ongoing efforts to clean up the sport of cycling,” stated Tygart today. “Following his recent television interview, we again invited him to come in and provide honest information, and he was informed in writing by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) that this was the appropriate avenue for him if he wanted to be part of the solution.

“Over the last few weeks he has led us to believe that he wanted to come in and assist USADA, but was worried of potential criminal and civil liability if he did so. Today we learned from the media that Mr. Armstrong is choosing not to come in and be truthful and that he will not take the opportunity to work toward righting his wrongs in sport.”

USADA added that it would continue with its investigation without him, and that it would maintain its close work with WADA and others to try to clean up sport.

The agency has long had a process in place against three individuals who worked with the US Postal Service and Discovery Channel teams, namely former general manager Johan Bruyneel, the past team doctor Pedro Celaya and the coach Pepe Marti.

It declined to comment on the situation in relation to those hearings today, with no indication forthcoming about when they will take place. It was originally envisaged that the hearings would have been held prior to the start of 2013, but these were delayed.

VeloNation understands that those processes have not been shelved at this point in time.


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