Lance Armstrong is preparing to confess doping, according to a New York Times article published yesterday. The newspaper said he is talking to anti-doping bodies about an admission in exchange for eligibility to compete.
The Texan, wrote the newspaper, “has told associates and anti-doping officials that he is considering publicly admitting that he used banned performance-enhancing drugs and blood transfusions during his cycling career, according to several people with direct knowledge of the situation.”
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It would be a complete reversal for Armstrong, who denied doping throughout his career that included seven Tour de France wins. To protect himself over the years, he sued the Sunday Times and won the SCA Promotions case.
The situation changed this summer when the US Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) followed up the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) investigation to find Armstrong guilty. On October 10, it published its 202-page Reasoned Decision and sent a 1000-page version to the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI).
The UCI followed suit to strip Armstrong of all his results since 1998, including his seven Tour de France wins. He remains the 1993 World Champion and winner of two Tour stages (1993 and 1995).
Armstrong unsuccessfully tried to block the USADA in a US district court. He gave up the fight against the USADA on August 23 and last month let the time lapse to appeal the doping case to the sport’s high court, CAS.
As part of the US agency’s decision, Armstrong received a lifetime ban from competition. He had been successfully competing in triathlon races mainly in the USA. The admission might allow the 41-year-old to return to competition and help win back sponsors to earn money. Trek, Oakley, Nike and most of his big sponsors abandoned him in the wake of the agency’s decision.
A confession, however, could accelerate a whistleblower lawsuit filed by former team-mate, Floyd Landis in 2010. The US Department of Justice is considering joining the lawsuit that could see Armstrong and Tailwind Sports issued a penalty of around $90m. The admission would also make the Sunday Times $1.5m-lawsuit (£1m) an easy win.
Regarding an admission, Armstrong’s lawyer Tim Herman told the New York Times, “Lance has to speak for himself on that.”
According to the newspaper, Armstrong has reached out to the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) and USADA.