Lance Armstrong could see his lifetime doping ban cut to eight years if he plays a part in cycling’s upcoming inquiry. He would need to provide “extraordinary evidence,” which he has refused to do so far.

“To paraphrase something Lance once said, extraordinary situations can sometimes require extraordinary solutions,” President of cycling’s governing body (UCI), Brian Cookson told the Telegraph. “He may be in a position where he can provide extraordinary evidence that will help those solutions.”

Cookson hopes the 42-year-old American testifies in the UCI’s upcoming inquiry. He wants Armstrong to give details related to allegations of corruption and cheating during the period he raced.

The US Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) found Armstrong guilty last October of cheating throughout his career. Its work saw him banned for life and stripped of his seven Tour de France titles. It also uncovered a wide support network for dopers and fresh allegations of corruption.

Cookson won the presidency election in September. His predecessors, Pat McQuaid and Hein Verbruggen, face allegations of under-handed dealings. Armstrong donated $125,000 to the UCI in 2002, a period when the US agency showed that he was cheating.

“It would be helpful if Lance Armstrong was able to give evidence to it but it’s not absolutely essential. We know pretty much all of what Lance was involved in,” Cookson said.

“The areas where there is more to know about is around the other people involved in those activities at that time and that would be interesting to find out. I’m talking more about the doctors, the coaches, the facilitators and so on. But, above all, I think the most important thing is the allegations that have been made about cover-ups and collusion at the UCI in the past.”

WADA President John Fahey said on Tuesday that it would take a miracle to see Armstrong’s ban lifted and that decision is in USADA’s hands.

The US agency said it could reduce Armstrong’s ban to eight years if he cooperated. “He’s had plenty of opportunities to come in before now and there’s no sense that is actually now going to happen,” USADA executive officer, Tygart told BBC Sport. “We’ll see if there is still an opportunity for him to get any reduction.”

WADA could ratify its new World Anti-Doping Code today in Johannesburg and put into force in 2015. It allows for full amnesty in certain cases. Fahey and Cookson must decide if that code will apply to cycling’s inquiry, which is due to conclude in 2014. If so, it could draw in important whistleblowers.

Related links

UCI and WADA to work on joint inquiry into UCI’s past

Lance Armstrong: Little chance of having lifetime ban reduced, says WADA

  • adam

    Didn’t he have this chance already? And instead of co-operating he chose to go on the offensive (again) and then ‘come clean’ on a talk show (of all things).

    It’s called a ‘consequence’, Lance. It’s what people lower down the food chain are used to dealing with…

  • Andy

    Of course there were ‘honest’ professional cyclists during the Armstrong era: Chris Boardman, Brian Smith and others. They were denied the success they were due because of Armstrong and other cheats. All such cheats should be punished. The ‘others were doing it as well’ argument is entirely fallacious – other Nazi officers were burning Russian villagers to death in barns; it doesn’t make it any less reprehensible an action. Professional cycling is a multi-million dollar business, and to cheat is to commit criminal fraud – it’s a shame he isn’t Italian, where there are legal procedures to prosecute criminality in sport as it should be pursued – through the criminal courts. Yes, there were others involved – they should admit what they did, perhaps through a ‘truth and reconciliation’ process, but this doesn’t change the fact that a lifetime ban from competing is a very minor punishment for a multi-million dollar fraud. But let’s not forget those who spoke out – Lemond, Kimmage et al, and those who were bullied in a disgraceful way. I find it hard to understand those who tolerate the sort of obscene bullying that took place, using the argument ‘Cycling is a tough sport, so we can expect tough behaviour’ argument, which is entirely fallacious (express your ‘toughness’ through your pedals, not through bullying threats or bribing others to lie about your supposed misdemeanours (as with Armstrong’s behaviour towards Lemond)). Let’s hope that Brian Cookson’s appointment marks a new era in the role of the governing body of cycling in addressing the problem of fraud. As for Armstrong, for God’s sake stop feeling sorry for him and his inability to do a couple of triathlons in a display of Putinesque preening self-regard. Why can’t he spend his Sundays changing nappies at the local old age people’s home instead, and go for a jog in a local sign on the line running event afterwards if he wants to compete ?

  • BeSpoke

    He should get no more than 2 years IMO. He doped in an era where everyone else doped. There weren’t any “honest” cyclists… not at the top of the professional sport anyway. He was a bully, but not being nice to others isn’t against the rules.
    He doped for most of his career…. So did all of his contemporaries, a good number of whom are are still involved in the sport. If he deserves a lifetime ban, then so do they.

  • steve clarke

    Sorry Lance, but I have no symphony for you at all, you should take your punishment like a man and stop wingeing!
    You were the most powerful figure in cycling, you were more important than the UCI and the Tour de France put together, you could’ve stopped all this mess if you wanted to.

    It takes a strong person to owe up to their mistakes, however time comes when one should come clean and stop all the lies.
    If Lance had the “balls” to confess earlier MAYBE the sport could’ve sorted the doping problem.

    As I see it, too many people were getting a “meal ticket” from Armstrong’s “wins” and nobody wanted to either “spit in the soup” or loose that “meal ticket”.

    The Tour needed Armstrong, the media needed Armstrong, Trek and Shimano needed Armstrong, Nike needed Armstrong, Oakley needed Armstrong, he generated $$$$ for these people and indirectly kept people employed.

    For cycling to move on, we should not forget the past but we should not dwell on the past mistakes.
    Lance, you cheated, you lied (even under oath), you believed your lies, you certainly do not deserve any reduction in your ban.

    On another issue, I need to ask the question “why haven’t we seen any evidence of any supply train?”
    Surely there has to be some criminal element involved in the supply of drugs, or did the pharmaceutical companies supply the drugs to “guinea pigs!!!!!!”

  • Brendan Power

    I understand the current ban for athletes found guilty of doping is four years, so give him four years for every year that he cheated.

  • hugh anderson

    Yes Lances ban should be lifted,the reasons are this.How can this wada shower say that there should be an amnesty in some cases and not all,hypocrisy on a grand scale.Wada and the rest should have been disbanded they failed to notice what was going on,but now want to take the credit for it all,and usada are no better.
    They just wanted to get a sporting superstar and they got one,but the rest of the dopers can go about their buisness,and keep their houses cash and the rest,while Lance pays the price for them all,if this is fair then i feel disgusted on how cycling is going,and disgusted at the so called organisations that are trying to get the cyclists who are not clean.
    Some people fail to understand what a real criminal is,this is a bike race we are talking about.
    Armstrong can only be punished as a professional cyclist,if he had not confessed to drug abuse,and he has not been caught also, then he would be still racing.if he deserves to be punished then take the whistleblowers with him,and the rest.

  • MikeB

    If he tells all now, it will 5 years faster than Landis did, after sanctions, denials and failed appeals. 5 years faster than Hamilton. Five years faster than Landis. And he is no worse than any of them. And certainly no worse than the previous multiple tour winner doping admitters and test failers.
    Sure he bullied. So did Landis. Ulrich, Riis and many other champions who have barely admitted but certainly proven to have doped still have TDF titles. The entire sport was corrupt.
    So for him to get 8 years when other lifetime dopers get 6 months is not justice, it is vengeance.

  • Andy

    He should be in jail for fraud. Why should the relatively minor punishment of a lifetime sporting ban be lifted ? If he paid all his money to the honest cyclists whose careers he ruined, or reimbursed those who gave up professional cycling because they chose not to compete unfairly against cheats; if he appeared even a tad humble and showed any sincere regret about the many people he bullied and lied about for years on end, causing them humiliation and sometimes financial ruin – even if he did all this, he should still take his very minor punishment and just melt into the obscurity he deserves. How could he ever show his face at another sporting event ? Why can’t he just go away and disappear quietly into a life in a cabin in a large wood and be grateful that he isn’t behind bars ?

  • Terry

    That would be a slap in the face for every right thinking cycling fan as he pulled the biggest con trick over us all for which he CANNOT be forgiven.
    Whistle blowing at this stage is a very poor show and he’s still taking us for fools.