Lance Armstrong slams door shut on making doping confession to USADA

Attorney claims agency only wants to "demonize certain individuals"

by Simon_MacMichael   February 20, 2013  

Lance Armstrong (pic courtesy Photosport International)

Lance Armstrong has closed the door on the prospect of his being interviewed under oath by the United States Anti Doping Agency (USADA) regarding his doping. The disgraced cyclist, who last month confessed in an interview with Oprah Winfrey that he had used performance enhancing drugs on the way to all seven of the Tour de France victories he was stripped of last year.

A statement released today from Armstrong’s lawyer, Tim Herman, says that while the 41-year-old is still prepared to co-operate with any potential truth and reconciliation process, he will not be speaking to USADA, which stands accused of seeking to “demonize selected individuals.”

In recent weeks, Armstrong’s representatives have been speaking with USADA to try and hammer out an agreement that would result in him making a confession that would provide substantial assistance to USADA and thereby potentially allow his lifetime ban to be reduced to eight years.

Earlier this month, USADA gave Armstrong an additional two weeks to iron out the details of any potential formal confession, but one potential stumbling block is likely to have been his insistence that he did not dope after coming out of retirement in 2009.

Armstrong is already involved in lawsuits with millions of dollars at stake with The Sunday Times, which is looking to recover libel damages paid to him in an out of court settlement in 2006, and SCA Promotions, which he successfully sued the same year for non-payment of bonuses it had insured and which now wants the money back.

While any other potential legal action from the period prior to his retirement in 2005 is now statute-barred, that would not apply to anything after his return to the sport in 2009, and any admission of doping relating to that and subsequent years would lay Armstrong open to fresh action from parties such as sponsors.

Armstrong is also the subject of a ‘whistleblower’ action brought by former US Postal team mate Floyd Landis – a case that the federal government has the option of joining.

In a separate development, earlier this month a ‘senior source’ confirmed that he may face charges of obstruction, witness tampering and intimidation.

The statement released on behalf of Armstrong today says:

"Lance is willing to cooperate fully and has been very clear: He will be the first man through the door, and once inside will answer every question, at an international tribunal formed to comprehensively address pro cycling, an almost exclusively European sport.

"We remain hopeful that an international effort will be mounted, and we will do everything we can to facilitate that result.

"In the meantime, for several reasons, Lance will not participate in USADA's efforts to selectively conduct American prosecutions that only demonize selected individuals while failing to address the 95% of the sport over which USADA has no jurisdiction."

That reference to Europe ties in with comments made by Herman last month in which he portrayed Armstrong as an innocent abroad who had been inducted into doping by the culture of a Euro-centric sport, rather than, as USADA insists, the key player in the biggest doping conspiracy sport has ever seen.

"It's a European culture that all these Americans were dropped into," he told USA Today earlier this month. "It's been going on for a hundred years. To hear [USADA CEO Travis] Tygart tell it, Lance Armstrong is responsible for the culture he was dropped into on a team (that) was engaged in misconduct long before he got to the team.

"He was a 19-year-old kid dropped in this culture, just like everybody else. He didn't create it. ... eventually you only have two choices: you can go home or conform. He's acknowledged his mistake, but he's like virtually every other rider who was a competitor of any significance."

This evening, USADA chief executive Travis Tygart issued his own statement in response to Armstrong's refusal to formally confess, in which he said:

“We have provided Mr. Armstrong several opportunities to assist in our ongoing efforts to clean up the sport of cycling. 

“Following his recent television interview, we again invited him to come in and provide honest information, and he was informed in writing by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) that this was the appropriate avenue for him if he wanted to be part of the solution. 

“Over the last few weeks he has led us to believe that he wanted to come in and assist USADA, but was worried of potential criminal and civil liability if he did so.

“Today we learned from the media that Mr. Armstrong is choosing not to come in and be truthful and that he will not take the opportunity to work toward righting his wrongs in sport.

"At this time we are moving forward with our investigation without him and we will continue to work closely with WADA and other appropriate and responsible international authorities to fulfill our promise to clean athletes to protect their right to compete on a drug free playing field.”
 

28 user comments

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shouldn't the USADA just bang him up for perjury rather than allowing this 'circus' to continue. I'm pretty sure that would shut Mr Armstrong (and his lawyers) up!

Philly Applause

philly's picture

posted by philly [21 posts]
20th February 2013 - 20:45

1 Like

Part of me thinks it's a shame that we won't hear the real extent of the scum still involved in cycling at the moment.

More of me is glad the smug prick can carry on sucking on his lifetime ban.

posted by Matt_S [200 posts]
20th February 2013 - 21:40

1 Like

What a cock.

posted by andyp [1077 posts]
20th February 2013 - 22:32

3 Likes

I'm surprised LA was even thinking about speaking to the USADA. To have a lifetime ban reduced to 8 years when you are already 41 doesn't seem much of an inducement, given what he stands to lose.

posted by alun [44 posts]
20th February 2013 - 22:47

2 Likes

Get the feeling it's all been wrapped up, no UCI investigation, no talking to USADA, next truth and reconciliation be gone, all swept under the carpet

posted by simoncon [52 posts]
20th February 2013 - 23:00

2 Likes

Dick

posted by Some Fella [824 posts]
21st February 2013 - 0:14

2 Likes

This has nothing to do with the USADA demonising certain individuals and everything to do with not getting sued if Lance admits 2009 allegations which he would have to do if he really wanted the truth and reconciliation process to work. The man really doesn’t give a flying f**k about anything other than his own personal gain.
Angry Waiting

Wesselwookie's picture

posted by Wesselwookie [154 posts]
21st February 2013 - 8:41

3 Likes

Lance seems to be following the thread that links Pat's dislike of USADA. Pat could be his only way back into the sport as he fights a lifetime ban. If Pat goes down as well, that's it.

antonio

antonio's picture

posted by antonio [1018 posts]
21st February 2013 - 9:09

1 Like

Tygart is loving this! He has the spotlight, the fame - all the things he and USADA have been looking for.

Armstrong doped. And after an exhaustive investigation the like of which would make most murder cases look poorly covered, and over a decade during which more and more new tests were applied to the same blood samples, the truth has come out. OK. I'm saddened by it, but there it is.

Could we now have all the samples taken from the other 1000+ cyclists who participated in the TdF and other races also subjected to the same extensive barrage of tests? Are samples from previous winners still held? Will they also be tested?

No. I thought not.

Did I hear a cry of 'burn the witch'? Because, of course, that'll make it all better. Sigh

Naked Seven
Orange Kish

posted by graham [17 posts]
21st February 2013 - 9:47

1 Like

graham wrote:
Could we now have all the samples taken from the other 1000+ cyclists who participated in the TdF and other races also subjected to the same extensive barrage of tests?

Great idea. Let's start with a rider from the 1999 Tour, Christophe Bassons, say? First to point the finger at Armstrong, and hounded off the Tour and out of the sport by him.

And now proved to have been correct all along by Armstrong's own admission.

Just one example of a very, very long list of things that make Armstrong's case unique.

Witch hunt? Really?

Simon_MacMichael's picture

posted by Simon_MacMichael [8513 posts]
21st February 2013 - 10:05

1 Like

So Armstrong is keen to help out and clean up cycling, but only if it's long enough ago to ensure that he can't be prosecuted. No doubt he'll make a further confession in a few years when he thinks he's safe again. Wonderful.

posted by Sadly Biggins [266 posts]
21st February 2013 - 10:08

2 Likes

Simon_MacMichael wrote:
graham wrote:
Could we now have all the samples taken from the other 1000+ cyclists who participated in the TdF and other races also subjected to the same extensive barrage of tests?

Great idea. Let's start with a rider from the 1999 Tour, Christophe Bassons, say? First to point the finger at Armstrong, and hounded off the Tour and out of the sport by him.

And now proved to have been correct all along by Armstrong's own admission.

Just one example of a very, very long list of things that make Armstrong's case unique.

Witch hunt? Really?

It IS a witch hunt, always has been. Until we do the same with all the other dozens and dozens of dopers throughout that era - Riis, Ullrich, Virenque, Contador (etc etc etc) - and until the doctors, team managers/staff, UCI, journalists, sponsors who were ALL in on this have all had their say, admitted their part and (where applicable) had their victories erased from the history book then yes, it is a witch hunt and it's doing the square root of sod all to cure the problem.

posted by crazy-legs [568 posts]
21st February 2013 - 10:26

1 Like

a 'European culture'? So, is the new PR strategy to sell Lance as just a flag-waving American led astray by those perfidious 'Europeans'?

posted by ElCynico [16 posts]
21st February 2013 - 10:32

2 Likes

I would go with 'burn the witch'. The only reason he is talking to USADA and seeking an eight year ban is in order to draw a line in the sand on the whole affair. It is quite a good move on his part. Tygart is hardly going to back off because I reckon he wants to expose UCI's involvement. In other words the truth and the whole truth, not simply what is convenient for LA. In fairness to USADA where the Justice dept. failed, he kept after his man and exposed the whole drug culture. The ozzies are on the march as well, introducing a statutory declaration so if you get caught could do jail time which would be very likely given this politically hot potato Thinking

posted by Seoige [104 posts]
21st February 2013 - 10:46

1 Like

'witch hunt' (I don't read the Daily Mail) or not, I would be quite happy if we burned him.

posted by andyp [1077 posts]
21st February 2013 - 10:57

2 Likes

crazy-legs wrote:
It IS a witch hunt, always has been. Until we do the same with all the other dozens and dozens of dopers throughout that era - Riis, Ullrich, Virenque, Contador (etc etc etc)...

None of whom are American. You can't blame USADA for doing something that other countries should have been doing - the fact that no Spanish cyclist has (yet) been sanctioned by the Spanish authorities in connection with Puerto being just one case in point.

Simon_MacMichael's picture

posted by Simon_MacMichael [8513 posts]
21st February 2013 - 12:48

2 Likes

Seoige wrote:
I would go with 'burn the witch'. The only reason he is talking to USADA and seeking an eight year ban is in order to draw a line in the sand on the whole affair. It is quite a good move on his part. Tygart is hardly going to back off because I reckon he wants to expose UCI's involvement. In other words the truth and the whole truth, not simply what is convenient for LA. In fairness to USADA where the Justice dept. failed, he kept after his man and exposed the whole drug culture. The ozzies are on the march as well, introducing a statutory declaration so if you get caught could do jail time which would be very likely given this politically hot potato Thinking

But he's NOT talking to USADA. Tygart was justified in persuing Armstrong, but I think he should now take a step back and read the USADA's remit, which is limited to US Olympic sports. That's all they are funded to do!

posted by alun [44 posts]
21st February 2013 - 13:08

2 Likes

This is all part of the same plan: first, doing an exercise of repentance and contrition like they love it in the US (with close-up on tears please, especially when talking about kids). Second, verify with lawyers about the legal risks, leading to his non-admission of doping during the TdF 2009, which would otherwise trigger a perjury charge. Third, acting now like a victim, to try to shift the blame on the USADA, which he wants to make look intransigent and obstructive.
Really, the US DoJ should wake up, this piece of work has ruined the life of many people and tears are certainly not enough. But considering his influencial pals and the fact the DoJ inexplicably dropped all charges in 2012, one can wonder if this guy is not somehow protected.

posted by zeb [46 posts]
21st February 2013 - 13:22

1 Like

Of course it's a witch hunt. Instead of victimising Lance Armstrong, why don't USADA go after all the other American riders who doped their way to seven TdF victories, sued anyone who suggested there might be questions to answer, intimidated teammates, bribed the UCI, or said that a woman telling the truth was a "drunk whore"?

posted by The Rumpo Kid [590 posts]
21st February 2013 - 14:16

1 Like

Alun the last time I heard, lawyers do not appoint themselves as representative, whilst he may not have chatted directly with USADA it is written that his lawyers did so. He simply did not like the feedback. I am in agreement with Zeb and the rumpo kid on this one. Lets not forget ostricize reporters that asked too many questions and sue them. He is well known to be litigious. Tygart sensibly cut the head of the snake and the body of 'drug culture' died along with it. His adversary this time was not some individual but effectively the US government. If the likes of BP were no match, I figure it is just a matter of time.

posted by Seoige [104 posts]
21st February 2013 - 14:39

3 Likes

Matt_S wrote:
Part of me thinks it's a shame that we won't hear the real extent of the scum still involved in cycling at the moment.

More of me is glad the smug prick can carry on sucking on his lifetime ban.

My sentiments too.

andyp wrote:
What a cock.

Yup.

Simon E's picture

posted by Simon E [2062 posts]
21st February 2013 - 15:18

0 Likes

'Burn the witch'? Yup, absolutely. I wasn't bothered about watching Armstrong's jerk off with Winfrey but I'd have no issue with tuning in to seeing him on a bonfire. If we can get Riis, Contador, Rasmussen, Vinokourov etc up there as well, so much the better, but let's make a start with the Laance. And it would be beautifully appropriate if the wonderful Emma O'Reilly, otherwise known to Laance as the 'alcoholic whore', would be so kind as to apply the flame to the base of the pyre.

dullard's picture

posted by dullard [140 posts]
21st February 2013 - 16:25

1 Like

Does Lance still do his Twitter rides?

two wheels good; four wheels bad

posted by cat1commuter [1380 posts]
21st February 2013 - 16:44

3 Likes

Guess what Lance USADA are demonising certain indiviuals. The drugs cheats - 'cos thats what they do.

Maybe if USADA paid him what Oprah paid him for appearing on her show he maybe a bit more willing to co-operate.

You are right Lance it's not just about the bike, it's about dollars as far as you are concerned.

Sorry for the rant but the man makes my teeth itch !

Velotastic !

Too many hills, but too little time.

badback's picture

posted by badback [277 posts]
21st February 2013 - 17:11

2 Likes

In the finest tradition of calling the offender after a certain male appendage:

Willy wagger!

posted by kitkat [228 posts]
21st February 2013 - 17:19

1 Like

alun wrote:
I'm surprised LA was even thinking about speaking to the USADA. To have a lifetime ban reduced to 8 years when you are already 41 doesn't seem much of an inducement, given what he stands to lose.

I think he has pretty much realised that cycling just isn't going to happen for him any more, but remember he came from triathlon and then went back there and was doing pretty well at it, and possibly even would have been a shot at winning the Ironman championships this year or next. An 8 year ban takes him to 49, which is surely too old, but if that ban was backdated to his last admitted doping, i.e. July 2005, then he would be able to start racing again this year...

I'm riding the 2013 Giro d'Italia for charity! Check it out and follow my progress live at www.tourletour.com

Tour Le Tour's picture

posted by Tour Le Tour [91 posts]
25th February 2013 - 19:47

1 Like

'last admitted doping'

therein lies the crux of the matter.
Ban from 'last admitted doping' = could race again this year, but is blatantly still lying, can he be trusted not to continue doping in triathlons, and apart from head-in-sand fanboys, who would want to race a cheat?

Ban from last doping = not racing for years.

Just make it easy and burn him, as above.

posted by andyp [1077 posts]
25th February 2013 - 20:24

2 Likes

andyp wrote:
'last admitted doping'

therein lies the crux of the matter.

Yep, exactly. I did try to put 'admitted' in italics, but my skills weren't up to it. To be honest though, I would like to race him. Imagine the motivation. I would either die trying, or I would cross the finish line (clean) ahead of him. And then I would light a match, ready for when he crossed it.

I'm riding the 2013 Giro d'Italia for charity! Check it out and follow my progress live at www.tourletour.com

Tour Le Tour's picture

posted by Tour Le Tour [91 posts]
26th February 2013 - 10:58

2 Likes