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Vaughters: Armstrong’s confession only a ‘step’ in the right direction

BOULDER, Colorado (VN) — It’s a step in the right direction, but it isn’t far enough. Not yet.

That seems to be an early narrative from those in cycling and anti-doping just after Lance Armstrong’s confession in his interview with Oprah Winfrey, aired Thursday night on her network. Armstrong finally admitted to doping after years of denials and a stout report by the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency that resulted in the Texan’s loss of all seven of his Tour de France titles.

Jonathan Vaughters, a former teammate of Armstrong’s on the U.S. Postal Service team and current manager of Garmin-Sharp, said he wasn’t sure if he was surprised or not with Armstrong’s very public admission, only that it’s taken a long time to get to this point.

“I don’t know whether I’m surprised or not. But it’s a step in the right direction. I don’t really know whether I’m surprised or not. It’s been a long process over many, many years,” Vaughters said. “You know what? It’s a step in the right direction. I’m pleased to hear that he would be willing to testify to the truth and (reconciliation) committee. That’s encouraging to hear that.”

USADA’s CEO Travis Tygart said much of the same, indicating that while the admission was something, it wasn’t yet enough. Armstrong has been banned for life from high-level Olympic sport and hopes to decrease his ban.

Asked if there was room for Armstrong in the sport any longer, Vaughters paused. “Man. First thing is first testifying under oath to USADA and WADA [World Anti-Doping Agency] and then a truth and reconciliation commission,” he said.

That truth and reconciliation commission, however, appears but a pipe dream at present, with the UCI’s independent review committee running into roadblocks that the UCI itself has put the brakes on such a commission.

Asked if he would come clean to a commission, Armstrong was absolute: “I love cycling. I really do. And I say that knowing that I sound like… people will see me as somebody who has disrespected the sport, the color yellow, the jersey,” Armstrong said. “But if we can, and I stand on no moral platform here…. If there was an effort, if there was a truth and reconciliation commission, again I can’t call for that, I have no cred, if they have it and I’m invited, I’ll be the first man at the door.”