WADA denies Lance Armstrong approach

SIMON PLUMB
Last updated 05:00 06/01/2013
Lance Armstrong
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HERO TO ZERO: Lance Armstrong after winning the 2005 Tour de France. He has now been stripped of all seven of his titles.

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Lance Armstrong has not approached the World Anti-Doping Agency over a supposed drug confession.

Yesterday afternoon (NZT) the New York Times reported that "according to several people with direct knowledge of the situation" Armstrong had confided in associates and anti-doping officials that he was considering a public admission - and was even seeking a meeting with Wada director-general, New Zealander David Howman.

A version of the article was published on the front page of the New York Times' city edition, headlined: "In Reversal, Armstrong Is Said to Weigh Admitting Drug Use".

But Canadian-based Howman, who is on holiday in New Zealand, says that neither Armstrong, nor his legal team, had made any approach.

"Wada hasn't, and I haven't, had any approach from Armstrong or his legal team," Howman said yesterday.

"I have to say, I was kind of surprised when you rang and then your call was followed pretty quickly by the New York Times," he said.

"The information they [New York Times] got didn't come from me. I don't know where it came from."

Were such an approach to emerge from the Armstrong camp, however, Howman said he would welcome any such request, saying he has "an open line".

"I've not met him [Armstrong] but I'm happy to be approached and engaged, I've got an open line.

"It would be senseless for us [Wada] to say otherwise."

It's been suggested the motivation behind an Armstrong confession could be an attempt for the man stripped of seven Tour de France titles, and banned for life from competing in any Olympic sports, to one day return to the biggest of sporting stages.

Since being stripped of his cycling titles, Armstrong has taken an interest in both running and triathlon - both of which are part of the Olympic programme.

Howman said for there to be any such return, Armstrong would have to overturn the lifetime ban imposed on him.

"He will only be able to compete again were his life ban to be altered," Howman said

"The only thing I can think of is that he and his legal team would have to make an application to those who are responsible for imposing the life ban for a re-hearing.

"I'd expect that any re-hearing would have to be based on information obtained in a sworn statement, I would gather, that ‘here's what I can tell you, here's what it all is. Can you, please, as a result of this, reconsider the sanction.'

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"It would depend on the content of the application whether it was furthered."

The New York Times also reported that, when asked if Armstrong might admit to doping, his lawyer, Tim Herman, said: "Lance has to speak for himself on that."

Herman also denied that Armstrong was talking to Travis Tygart, chief executive of the United States Anti-Doping Agency, and said his client was not looking to speak with Howman either.

- Stuff

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