Tygart: Talk of Armstrong ban reduction premature, speculative

USADA chief says any discussion of a reduced ban for Lance Armstrong in "speculative" at this point


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JOHANNESBURG (AFP) — Any discussion on a reduction of fallen cycling star Lance Armstrong’s lifetime ban is “premature” and “speculative” until he offers information about doping, the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency chief told AFP Wednesday.

“Technically it’s a possibility for him to receive a reduction,” USADA CEO Travis Tygart said on the sidelines of the World Conference on Doping in Sport.

But suggestions that Armstrong’s 2012 lifetime ban from competitive sport can be lifted were “premature” and “speculative,” said Tygart.

International cycling’s world governing body, the UCI, stripped Armstrong of his seven Tour de France titles — won between 1999 and 2005 — in August last year, after USADA banned him for life for his role in a wide-reaching doping conspiracy.

The cyclist has said he would cooperate to discover the extent of doping in the sport so long as he’s treated the same as his fellow drug cheats.

Tygart welcomed Armstrong’s willingness to talk, but said the effect would not be the same.

“The value is diminished significantly to some extent. He had the opportunity, which he didn’t take,” said Tygart.

According to Tygart, Armstrong “was the only athlete who refused to come,” when USADA invited cyclists to talk about doping in June 2012.

The organization was still “hopeful he might give information” that would be “helpful to give cycling a chance to unshackle from its past,” said the U.S. anti-doping chief.

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