Travis Tygart, head of the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA), the man who played a huge role in bringing down disgraced cyclist Lance Armstrong, said the lifetime ban imposed on the cyclist may be cut to eight years if the cyclist agrees to reveal all about his past.
Armstrong was banned in October 2012 for life and stripped of all his seven Tour de France titles and even the Olympic bronze after USADA provided evidence linking the cyclist to banned performance enhancing drugs. The cyclist after vehemently denying allegations of doping finally admitted this January that he made use of blood transfusions, blood doping, EPO, testosterone, and cortisone. A few days back, the former cyclist said he would be open up for revealing more about his past as a drugs cheat but this would happen only if he was treated fairly by those investigating cycling's culture of doping. Armstrong pledged to testify with 100 percent transparency and honesty and argued that some cheats had received "a total free pass" while others had been given "the death penalty".
Tygart remarked Armstrong has had plenty of opportunities to come in before now and there's no sense that is actually now going to happen and added we'll see if there is still an opportunity for him to get any reduction.
Recently, the world governing body of cycling revealed its plans to set up an independent inquiry into doping. UCI President Brian Cookson is hopeful that this inquiry hears evidence from many people, and not just Lance Armstrong, as the newly-elected UCI head is trying hard for restoring cycling's credibility and that of his own organization. Cookson said Armstrong's ban is a matter for USADA and it wouldn't be helpful for me to suggest a length of ban but, if you look at the current rules, USADA could probably look at an eight-year ban and added if United States Anti-Doping Agency were to agree that, then the UCI certainly wouldn't oppose it but, equally, he is not recommending that either.
The UCI chief stressed that USADA, being the sanctioning body, has completely responsibility for deciding whether Armstrong's ban is reduced or not and went on to remark that the UCI can't have much impact on his current situation because the sanctions have been imposed by USADA. He also added that Armstrong needs to be clear with them what his role is, what he can and can't offer to them in terms of substantial assistance to look at whether they can offer him any reductions in the sanctions that he's currently got.
USADA chief remarked it was important for cycling to unshackle itself from its dirty past for the good of everyone and what's important is this sport moves forward and puts this dark, dirty time period behind it and give clean athletes a chance to be successful. Tygart however condemned Lance for continuing to cast a shadow over cycling and claimed that clean athletes have been hurt by his failure to speak up.
The inquiry is expected to start taking evidence in the New Year and is expected to focus on the years from 1998 onwards.
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