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

Lance Armstrong R

Lance Armstrong appears to have no chance of having his lifetime doping ban reduced. World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) president, John Fahey said yesterday at a conference in Johannesburg that it would take a miracle to see his suspension re-examined.

"I see it as done and dusted," Fahey told the AFP news agency. "It would take something close to a miracle to see it go forward in his case."

The US Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) found Armstrong cheated through his career, at least from 1998 and throughout his seven Tour de France wins. Although given the opportunity, Armstrong refused to cooperate with the agency.

Fahey, speaking at conference at the World Conference on Doping in Sport, found little remorse for Armstrong's case.

"He did not cooperate, he did not defend the charges," Fahey continued. "There's been no mood to say, 'I want to give substantial assistance'."

USADA, said Fahey, would have to revisit Armstrong's case not WADA since it issued him the ban in the first place. He added that Armstrong would need "a damn good case" to convince the US agency to reduce his ban.

The agency said in its decision last October that Armstrong's achievements "were accomplished through a massive team doping scheme, more extensive than any previously revealed in professional sports history."

Armstrong admitted he doped in an interview with Oprah Winfrey in January. He said then that he felt he was not treated fairly. In recent weeks, he has been reaching out to media to make his case.

"All that I would say is that we had a very consistent pattern of behaviour for 20 years in cycling, very consistent, and yet the punishment and the toll that's taken on some has not been consistent. You've had some people with a total free pass, you've had some people with a death penalty, for consistent behaviour," he told the BBC World Service on Monday.

"So all that I would hope for is that people are treated consistently and fairly. If everybody gets the death penalty, then I'll take the death penalty. If everybody gets a free pass, well I'm happy to take a free pass. If everybody gets six months, then I'll take my six months."

WADA instead is helping the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) with its independent investigation into cheating and corruption during Armstrong's years. Fahey met with new president Brian Cookson last week to offer support and said that he is "confident" in the UCI's work.

Related links

Lance Armstrong says 'call me' to Brian Cookson

Lance Armstrong: Rider profile

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Gregor Brown

Gregor Brown is an experienced cycling journalist, based in Florence, Italy. He has covered races all over the world for over a decade - following the Giro, Tour de France, and every major race since 2006. His love of cycling began with freestyle and BMX, before the 1998 Tour de France led him to a deep appreciation of the road racing season.