Brian Cookson, president of British Cycling, has said that any confession from disgraced cyclist Lance Armstrong must “name names” and provide a full disclosure of his doping past, following reports at the weekend that the former US Postal rider is considering coming clean about the drug-taking that led to him being banned from sport for life and stripped of results including the seven Tour de France titles he won between 1999 and 2005.
Quoted on Telegraph.co.uk, Cookson, also a member of the UCI’s management committee since 2009, said: “Who knows what Armstrong’s motivation is now, but I hope that when he tells the truth, he tells the whole truth, the whole story and if he feels the need to name names, then do so.
“If he feels the need to give evidence against other people, then do so, but let’s not have any false accusations or innuendos. Let’s have the full truth, a full disclosure of everything.”
Cookson insisted: “The sport has moved on over the doping issue but I think there is an agreement internationally that we need to heal the sores of the past, and if we have Lance Armstrong finally confessing then we all welcome that, and let’s move on.
“I find it difficult to understand what his motivation is after denying and denying again after all these years, and then finally giving up and wanting to tell the truth. Armstrong’s confession is a matter for him and his conscience,” he added.
Much of the testimony that led to Armstrong's ban came from former team mates who provided testimony against him to the United States Anti Doping Agency (USADA), which published their witness statements as part of its Reasoned Decision in the case.
Armstrong's former manager at US Postal and Discovery Channel and later at Astana and RadioShack, Johan Bruyneel, was named extensively in USADA's dossier, but has chosen to fight the charges against him through arbitration.
According to press reports at the weekend, Armstrong is prepared to make an admittance that he doped in order to have his lifetime ban from competition in any sports subject to the World Anti-Doping Code reduced.
That would enable him, once any shortened ban had been served, to return to competition in triathlon, the sport he pursued as a teenager and went back to after retiring from cycling for good in 2011.
It was reported, however, that from Armstrong’s point of view, any such disclosure would be dependent on him securing guarantees that he would be immune from prosecution on potential charges of perjury relating to his insistence that he never doped, including during the 2005 SCA Promotions court case.
In that action, Armstrong testified under oath that he had never used performance enhancing drugs after SCA Promotions sought to withhold bonuses it had insured for the Texan’s victories in the 2002, 2003 and 2004 editions of the Tour de France.
Armstrong has now been stripped of his seven Tour de France titles as well as all other results dating back to 1 August 1998, when he returned to cycling with the US Postal team after recovering from cancer.
He is also widely thought to be under pressure to make a confession from the Livestrong charity he founded, which is believed to be suffering declining donations as a result of its association with him, despite Armstrong having stepped down as its chairman and subsequently also resigning his seat on its board.
He is also being sued by The Sunday Times for return of an out-of-court settlement it paid him in 2006 after he sued it for libel following publication of allegations contained in the book LA Confidentiel, co-written by the newspaper’s sports editor, David Walsh.
Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.