Anti-doping director wants Lance confession under oath

Published: Wednesday, Jan. 16, 2013 - 12:00 am | Page 2C
Last Modified: Wednesday, Jan. 16, 2013 - 8:22 am

LONDON – Lance Armstrong must make a full confession under oath – not just an admission in a television interview with Oprah Winfrey – if he wants authorities to consider lifting his lifetime ban from sports, the director of the World Anti-Doping Agency said Tuesday.

WADA director general David Howman said Armstrong's interview with Winfrey is "hardly the same as giving evidence to a relevant authority" that deals with doping rules and sanctions.

"He's got to follow a certain course," Howman said. "That is not talking to a talk show host."

Armstrong was stripped of his seven Tour de France titles and banned for life from Olympic sports last year following a U.S. Anti-Doping Agency report that portrayed him as a longtime performance-enhancing drug user. After years of denials, he confessed to doping during an interview with Winfrey taped Monday.

Armstrong, 41, has been in conversations with USADA about a possible confession to authorities and a path to restoring his eligibility to compete in triathlons and marathons.

Howman said a reduced ban is possible depending on the level of cooperation.

"Is he trying to do something for himself to have the sanctions changed?" Howman said. "Does he want to do something for the benefit of the sport itself? In both instances, he will need to make a full statement on oath."

International Olympic Committee vice president Thomas Bach said Armstrong should provide a complete confession to USADA or WADA.

"The TV interview is not the right platform," he said.

The International Cycling Union, meanwhile, urged Armstrong to testify before its independent commission on doping to shed light on allegations that include whether the UCI helped cover up his use of performance-enhancing drugs.

Cycling's governing body said it was aware of reports Armstrong had confessed during the Winfrey interview, which will be broadcast Thursday and Friday.

"If these reports are true, we would strongly urge Lance Armstrong to testify to the Independent Commission established to investigate the allegations made against the UCI in the recent USADA reasoned decision on Lance Armstrong and the United States Postal Service (USPS) team," the UCI said in a statement.

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