WADA chief slams Lance Armstrong interview

Lance Armstrong

Lance Armstrong gave a "weasel" admission in a "controlled PR exercise" in a TV interview, says the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA). The agency's head, John Fahey slammed the Oprah Winfrey interview last night and said Armstrong continues to lie.

"The USADA invited him to come clean and advised he would have to give evidence under oath and provide substantial assistance and, if he indicated the nature of the evidence - and he would have to name times, dates, people - there may be a consideration of reducing his life sentence to a term of years," Fahey told The Daily Telegraph. "But he never came back, he went to Oprah instead and that indicates how sincere he really was. He wanted to control the way his story was told."

The Oprah Winfrey network aired the first of a two-part interview last night. The next show airs tonight at 2am British time on Saturday morning.

The US Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) investigated Armstrong over 2012 and by late summer, found him a dope cheat.

Armstrong referred to the USADA's Reasoned Decision published on October 10 that proved him a cheat and saw to him being banned for life and stripped of his wins, including seven Tour de France titles. He admitted to the doping in the report, but disagreed on certain points.

"The only thing in that whole report that really upset me is the accusation, and they say the proof, that I doped after my comeback," he said.

"The last time I crossed that line [doping] was in 2005. I didn't do any blood doping in 2009 or 2010. Absolutely not. 2005 is the last time - that's absolutely true."

Fahey said that this proves Armstrong is still a liar.

"The evidence from USADA is that Armstrong's blood tests show variations in his blood that show with absolute certainty he was doping after 2005," Fahey said. "Believe USADA or believe Armstrong? I know who to believe.

"It struck me that the statute of limitations under US law might be [relevant] and Armstrong would not want to admit to anything in regards to his comeback (in 2009) that might be picked up under the US criminal code."

USADA CEO, Travis Tygart released a statement saying that any meaningful progress will need to be under oath, not with a US TV star.

"Lance Armstrong finally acknowledged that his cycling career was built on a powerful combination of doping and deceit," Tygart said. "[It] is a small step in the right direction. But if he is sincere in his desire to correct his past mistakes, he will testify under oath."

The cycling governing body, the UCI seemed to wipe the sweat off its forehead in a press release. It referred to Armstrong denying the allegations that he tested positive in the 2001 Tour of Switzerland and the UCI helped him cover it up.

"I am going to tell you what is true and not true. That story isn't true. There was no positive test. There was no paying off the lab. There was no secret meeting with the lab director," Armstrong said.

He donated the UCI around $125,000 in 2002, but said that the UCI did not cover up a positive test. Armstrong said, "I am no fan of the UCI, but that did not happen."

"Lance Armstrong has confirmed there was no collusion or conspiracy," UCI president, Pat McQuaid said in a statement. "There were no positive tests which were covered up and he has confirmed that the donations made to the UCI were to assist in the fight against doping."

McQuaid added that cycling is moving forward despite Armstrong's disturbing confession.

Armstrong complemented cycling's use of out-of-competition testing and the UCI-introduced biological passport. However, as Fahey and Tygart pointed out, Armstrong has a lot more work to do if he wants to help cycling.

Related links

Oprah Winfrey mesmerised and riveted by Armstrong interview

US government set to join Armstrong whistleblower case

Lance Armstrong confesses to doping

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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.