Armstrong lifeline in 'come clean' ultimatum
THE disgraced cyclist Lance Armstrong has been give until February 6 to come completely clean about his past doping activities if he wishes to negotiate a reduction of his lifetime ban.
The chief executive of the US Anti-Doping Agency, Travis Tygart, will confirm the ultimatum on television in the US on Sunday night after having written to Armstrong early last week with the demand that he ''co-operate fully and truthfully'' if he wishes to plea bargain.
Failure to comply will automatically confirm the life ban.
"I'd be first through the door" ... Lance Armstrong, on a truth and reconciliation commission. Photo: AFP
In a letter sent in response, Armstrong's lawyer, Tim Herman, said the cyclist could not accommodate that schedule.
But he told the agency that the cyclist would co-operate with efforts to clean up the sport, adding it was the governing body and the World Anti-Doping Agency that should take the lead. Mr Herman said Armstrong would be willing to appear before the International Cycling Union's planned ''truth and reconciliation'' commission.
In a letter to USADA's lawyer William Bock, Mr Herman said: ''As you have candidly confirmed, USADA has no authority to investigate, prosecute or otherwise involve itself with the other 95 per cent of cycling competitors. Thus, in order to achieve the goal of 'cleaning up cycling', it must be WADA and the UCI that have overall authority to do so.''
Despite insisting publicly he was seeking a reduction of the life ban to eight years so he could compete in masters triathlon competitions and marathons, Armstrong refused point blank to plea-bargain when USADA originally charged him last year.
The disgraced former Tour de France winner also declined to offer detailed information to the anti-doping agency when he met the USADA in the new year, after which he opted for his confession with Oprah Winfrey when he again expressed his wish to be granted a reduced ban from what he called a ''death sentence''.
In the interview Armstrong insisted he would ''be the first through the door'' for a proposed truth and reconciliation commission but such a body was still some way from being finalised and the degree of amnesty not yet decided. In any case, USADA was insistent it was still the correct forum for a full confession.
Mr Tygart also said Armstrong's denial that he doped during the 2009 and 2010 Tours was ''contrary to the evidence''. USADA insisted blood tests taken from Armstrong then had a ''one in a million chance'' of being natural.