Lance Armstrong will not cooperate with the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency ahead of its Wednesday deadline for him to testify.
Today was the deadline for the Texan to determine if he would work with USADA in its investigation of doping in professional cycling. If he did, there was a chance his lifetime ban from high-level competition could be reduced to eight years, offering him a chance to compete in triathlons and marathons.
Armstrong will not work with USADA, at least for now, because the agency’s efforts, according to Armstrong attorney Tim Herman, are “selective” and will “demoralize” American riders in a sport that’s largely European.
“Lance is willing to cooperate fully and has been very clear: He will be the first man through the door, and once inside will answer every question, at an international tribunal formed to comprehensively address pro cycling, an almost exclusively European sport,” Herman said in a statement. “We remain hopeful that an international effort will be mounted, and we will doeverything we can to facilitate that result. In the meantime, for several reasons, Lance will not participate in USADA’s efforts to selectively conduct American prosecutions that only demonize selected individuals while failing to address the 95 percent of the sport over which USADA has no jurisdiction.”
USADA CEO Travis Tygart said he would move forward with his investigation regardless.
“We have provided Mr. Armstrong several opportunities to assist in our ongoing efforts to clean up the sport of cycling. Following his recent television interview, we again invited him to come in and provide honest information, and he was informed in writing by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) that this was the appropriate avenue for him if he wanted to be part of the solution,” Tygart said in a statement. “Over the last few weeks, he has led us to believe that he wanted to come in and assist USADA, but was worried of potential criminal and civil liability if he did so. Today we learned from the media that Mr. Armstrong is choosing not to come in and be truthful and that he will not take the opportunity to work toward righting his wrongs in sport.
“At this time we are moving forward with our investigation without him and we will continue to work closely with WADA and other appropriate and responsible international authorities to fulfill our promise to clean athletes to protect their right to compete on a drug free playing field.”
Armstrong, 41, faces two major lawsuits that could be impacted by any testimony he gives under oath.
A Texas insurance firm sued Armstrong on February 7, seeking $12 million for bonus money paid to Armstrong for Tour de France triumphs that are now null and void.
Former Armstrong teammate Floyd Landis, who lost his 2006 Tour de France crown because of doping, is suing Armstrong on grounds that Armstrong deceived his U.S. Postal Service sponsor by claiming to be winning his titles without using performance enhancing drugs.
In his television confessional to Oprah Winfrey last month, Armstrong contradicted several parts of USADA’s investigation, saying he had stopped doping after 2005 and was not a ringleader in the team’s doping program.
Tygart, in a later television interview, said Armstrong had lied to Winfrey because USADA evidence showed he was doping when he rode in the Tour de France two final times in 2009 and 2010.
According to Tygart, expert reports based on the variation of Armstrong’s blood values make it a “one to a million chance that it was due to something other than doping.”
Jim Slater at Agence France Presse contributed to this report.