Armstrong refuses to cooperate with doping investigation because he fears consequences, claims USADA chief

Wednesday, 20 February 2013
By Duncan Mackay

Lance Armstrong with fingers on lipFebruary 20 - Lance Armstrong today announced that he will refuse to cooperate with the United States Anti-Doping Agency's (USADA) investigation by giving them a full confession, under oath, into his use of banned performance-enhancing drugs. 

But he again claimed that he would be willing to appear before the Truth and Reconciliation Commission proposed by International Cycling Union (UCI) President Pat McQuaid.

USADA had given Armstrong - who publicly admitted last month using drugs for most of his career during an interview on television with Oprah Winfrey - until today to decide whether he would cooperate under oath with their investigation.

"Lance is willing to cooperate fully and has been very clear," Armstrong's attorney Tim Herman said in a written statement.

"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.

"We remain hopeful that an international effort will be mounted, and we will do everything we can to facilitate that result.

"In the meantime, Lance will not participate in USADA's efforts to selectively conduct American prosecutions that only demonise selected individuals while failing to address the 95 per cent of the sport over which USADA has no jurisdiction," 

Travis Tygart, chief executive of USADA, claimed that Armstrong had refused to give evidence because he feared for the consequences if he had been honest about what he had done. 

Travis TygartUSADA chief executive Travis Tygart has claimed Lance Armstrong was "worried of potential criminal and civil liability" if he confessed to using banned drugs under oath

"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," said Tygart in a statement.

"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 (World Anti-Doping Agency) 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 was stripped of his seven Tour de France titles by the UCI in October after a damning report by USADA accused him and his team of the "most sophisticated, professionalised and successful doping program (sic)" in cycling history.

The USADA banned Armstrong, 41, for life but said the ban could be reduced to eight years if he cooperated under oath with investigators. 

The agency initially gave Armstrong a deadline of February 6 before extending it by two weeks.

"We have provided Mr. Armstrong several opportunities to assist in our ongoing efforts to clean up the sport of cycling," said Tygart.

"Following his recent television interview, we again invited him to come in and provide honest information, and he was informed in writing by WADA that this was the appropriate avenue for him if he wanted to be part of the solution."

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