USADA Chief Open to Reducing Armstrong's Ban

Lance would have to become anti-doping ambassador

Travis Tygart said that Armstrong must provide fresh evidence, more than just an admission, if he wants his lifetime ban reconsidered. (Anita Ritenour/Flickr)
Photo: Anita Ritenour/Flickr

It appears that Lance Armstrong may be given the chance to appeal his lifetime ban, handed down in 2012, to the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA). The Telegraph reported last week that Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) president Brian Cookson has been asked to arrange a meeting between the disgraced cyclist and USADA.

If Armstrong is to have any chance of getting back into competitive cycling, he must commit to becoming an anti-doping ambassador and provide “substantial assistance” to anti-doping officials, according to the Telegraph. Travis Tygart, CEO of USADA, told the British paper that he welcomes a meeting with Armstrong. “To be perfectly honest, our position hasn’t changed,” he said. “We hope that Lance comes and speaks to us. We’ve been hoping since 2012 that he would. Technically, he still has the opportunity to get his ban reduced.”

But for that to happen, Armstrong would have to bring forward substantial evidence that would help in any new cases. “He can’t just come in and say, ‘Here’s what I did,’” Tygart told the Telegraph. “That just won’t cut it.”

It would only help if Armstrong were to commit to becoming an anti-doping advocate and educator, Tygart said, seeing as how he hit rock bottom after being on top for so long. “Working as an anti-doping ambassador does not win you credit in and of itself, but it would help show he really was sorry,” Tygart told the Telegraph. “It is important that he really is telling the truth.”

No date has been set for a meeting between USADA and Armstrong. While Cookson has been tapped to arrange the meeting, he told VeloNews that he will leave it up to USADA whether to reduce Armstrong’s ban. “I’ve got no remit to reduce the ban of Lance Armstrong,” Cookson said. “I have no desire to be the president that let Armstrong off the hook.”

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