Lance Armstrong appears to have no chance of having his lifetime doping ban reduced. World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) president, John Fahey said yesterday at a conference in Johannesburg that it would take a miracle to see his suspension re-examined.

“I see it as done and dusted,” Fahey told the AFP news agency. “It would take something close to a miracle to see it go forward in his case.”

The US Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) found Armstrong cheated through his career, at least from 1998 and throughout his seven Tour de France wins. Although given the opportunity, Armstrong refused to cooperate with the agency.

Fahey, speaking at conference at the World Conference on Doping in Sport, found little remorse for Armstrong’s case.

“He did not cooperate, he did not defend the charges,” Fahey continued. “There’s been no mood to say, ‘I want to give substantial assistance’.”

USADA, said Fahey, would have to revisit Armstrong’s case not WADA since it issued him the ban in the first place. He added that Armstrong would need “a damn good case” to convince the US agency to reduce his ban.

The agency said in its decision last October that Armstrong’s achievements “were accomplished through a massive team doping scheme, more extensive than any previously revealed in professional sports history.”

Armstrong admitted he doped in an interview with Oprah Winfrey in January. He said then that he felt he was not treated fairly. In recent weeks, he has been reaching out to media to make his case.

“All that I would say is that we had a very consistent pattern of behaviour for 20 years in cycling, very consistent, and yet the punishment and the toll that’s taken on some has not been consistent. You’ve had some people with a total free pass, you’ve had some people with a death penalty, for consistent behaviour,” he told the BBC World Service on Monday.

“So all that I would hope for is that people are treated consistently and fairly. If everybody gets the death penalty, then I’ll take the death penalty. If everybody gets a free pass, well I’m happy to take a free pass. If every­body gets six months, then I’ll take my six months.”

WADA instead is helping the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) with its independent investigation into cheating and corruption during Armstrong’s years. Fahey met with new president Brian Cookson last week to offer support and said that he is “confident” in the UCI’s work.

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  • Ken Evans

    Cycling could move on better if Armstrong was questioned under oath in court. This way he could explain his behaviour, and how he was able to avoid positive test results. The whole UCI / McQuaid / Verbruggen bribe saga needs to be sorted out. Bassons and other riders that made claims against the culture of the pro peloton, need to have the chance to offer improvements to clean up racing, so clean riders can win, and not serial dopers. The structure and culture of teams also needs to be better regulated, so doping is not used as a short cut to try to get results. Team Sky and its riders could provide a base-line to compare other teams and riders with, to help spot teams and riders that are doping. ASO as the organisers of the biggest race, need to exclude ALL riders, DSs, and teams, with a record of doping. Armstrong (like David Miller), could try to improve the sport he claims to love, not continue to drag it through the mud.