AUSTIN, Texas – An attorney for Lance Armstrong told the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency the cyclist will cooperate with efforts to “clean up cycling,” though it’s the sport’s governing body and world anti-doping officials who should take the lead.
In letters sent this week between attorneys for Armstrong and USADA, and obtained by The Associated Press, USADA attorney William Bock requested Armstrong testify under oath by Feb. 6, but the cyclist’s attorney, Tim Herman, said that Armstrong cannot accommodate that schedule.
Last week, Armstrong admitted to taking performance-enhancing drugs to win the Tour de France seven times.
Herman’s letter said Armstrong intends to appear before the International Cycling Union’s planned “truth and reconciliation” commission. He said the cycling union and the World Anti-Doping Agency should take the lead in cleaning up the sport.
“As you have candidly confirmed, USADA has no authority to investigate, prosecute or otherwise involve itself with the other 95 percent of cycling competitors. Thus, in order to achieve the goal of ‘cleaning up cycling,’ it must be WADA and the UCI who have overall authority to do so.”
The letter from USADA also confirms a Dec. 14 meeting in Denver between Bock, USADA CEO Travis Tygart, Herman and Armstrong.
“Mr. Armstrong has already been provided well over a month since our meeting in December to consider whether he is going to be part of our ongoing efforts to clean up the sport of cycling,” Tygart said in a statement. “He has been given a deadline of February 6th to determine whether he plans to come in and be part of the solution. Either way, USADA is moving forward with our investigation on behalf of clean athletes.”
Armstrong has been banned for life and, in his interview with Oprah Winfrey last week, said he would like to compete again.
Bock’s letter does not mention the ban, though Armstrong’s full cooperation could lead to a reduction, perhaps to eight years, which would allow Armstrong to compete in 2020, when he’ll be 49.