Lance Armstrong could see his lifetime doping ban cut to eight years if he plays a part in cycling’s upcoming inquiry. He would need to provide “extraordinary evidence,” which he has refused to do so far.
“To paraphrase something Lance once said, extraordinary situations can sometimes require extraordinary solutions,” President of cycling’s governing body (UCI), Brian Cookson told the Telegraph. “He may be in a position where he can provide extraordinary evidence that will help those solutions.”
Cookson hopes the 42-year-old American testifies in the UCI’s upcoming inquiry. He wants Armstrong to give details related to allegations of corruption and cheating during the period he raced.
The US Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) found Armstrong guilty last October of cheating throughout his career. Its work saw him banned for life and stripped of his seven Tour de France titles. It also uncovered a wide support network for dopers and fresh allegations of corruption.
Cookson won the presidency election in September. His predecessors, Pat McQuaid and Hein Verbruggen, face allegations of under-handed dealings. Armstrong donated $125,000 to the UCI in 2002, a period when the US agency showed that he was cheating.
“It would be helpful if Lance Armstrong was able to give evidence to it but it’s not absolutely essential. We know pretty much all of what Lance was involved in,” Cookson said.
“The areas where there is more to know about is around the other people involved in those activities at that time and that would be interesting to find out. I’m talking more about the doctors, the coaches, the facilitators and so on. But, above all, I think the most important thing is the allegations that have been made about cover-ups and collusion at the UCI in the past.”
WADA President John Fahey said on Tuesday that it would take a miracle to see Armstrong’s ban lifted and that decision is in USADA’s hands.
The US agency said it could reduce Armstrong’s ban to eight years if he cooperated. “He’s had plenty of opportunities to come in before now and there’s no sense that is actually now going to happen,” USADA executive officer, Tygart told BBC Sport. “We’ll see if there is still an opportunity for him to get any reduction.”
WADA could ratify its new World Anti-Doping Code today in Johannesburg and put into force in 2015. It allows for full amnesty in certain cases. Fahey and Cookson must decide if that code will apply to cycling’s inquiry, which is due to conclude in 2014. If so, it could draw in important whistleblowers.