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BOULDER, Colorado (VN) — Lance Armstrong is said to be mulling a confession to the use of performance enhancing drugs during his career which was, until recently, on the record books among the sport’s all-time best.
The New York Times’ Juliet Macur reported on Friday evening that the Texan was considering admitting to cheating over his career in hopes of returning to high-level competition. The UCI banned Armstrong for life after the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency issued a thousand-page file outlining his use of blood doping and EPO during his then-unprecedented run of Tour de France wins. That ban extends to triathlons and marathons falling under the Olympic movement and other event promoters have excluded Armstrong from their events since October.
Armstrong elected not to fight the USADA allegations, and he was stripped of nearly every meaningful result, save 1993 world and national championships and a pair of Tour de France stage wins. If he elects to come clean, it would mark a sea change for the Texan, who has rabidly denied doping over his career and has attacked those who have sullied his reputation, from newspapers to former teammates and staff.
The Times reported via unnamed sources that Armstrong had been in contact with Travis Tygart, the USADA chief who resumed his Armstrong case after federal investigators dropped their own investigation in February 2012. Tygart did not immediately respond to VeloNews’ request for comment. It was also reported that Armstrong was looking to meet with David Howman, the director of the World Anti-Doping Agency, though Armstrong attorney Tim Herman told the Times that he was unaware of any intentions by his client to confess.
“I do not know about that. I suppose anything is possible, for sure,” said Herman. “Right now, that’s really not on the table.”
Jonathan Vaughters, the Garmin-Sharp team manager and a former Armstrong teammate, said Armstrong had the potential to help the sport in what is an undeniably dark time.
“Whatever tensions I’ve had with Lance in the past, if he chooses to come forward, I would respect him for that action,” Vaughters told VeloNews in an email Friday night. “Total and complete truth is the only way forward for cycling. If Lance chooses this as his path, it will help the sport heal.”
The Armstrong affair spanned Tour titles, teammates and directors and has rocked the sport to its already shaky core. Former teammate Levi Leipheimer lost his job at Omega Pharma-Quick Step, and the British outfit Sky has sacked those with ties to doping in the past, such as American Bobby Julich. Armstrong has lost long-time sponsors including Oakley and Nike, and team sponsors such as Rabobank have found the exit. Some, including Vaughters, have called for a sweeping commission to air cycling’s dirty laundry.
“Until a real truth and reconciliation effort is assembled, cycling fans will learn about the vast and commonplace doping of that era via drips, books, and rumors,” said Vaughters. “Maybe Lance coming forward could push truth and reconciliation to the front of everyone’s considerations? And what we learn from truth and reconciliation could serve to prevent future doping from ever happening.”
Editor’s note: This is a breaking story and we will update as possible.