Lance Armstrong could cycle again because international cycling officials are thinking of reducing his lifetime ban if he is ready to offer them information with regard to wrongdoing within the sport. Although the final decision belongs to the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA), the International Cycling Union might help the former professional road racing cyclist regain the right to enter cycling competitions.
Brian Cookson, president of the International Cycling Union, told the Associated Press that there is a way of helping both Armstrong and the USADA to receive what they want. He emphasizes, however, the fact that the USADA needs to “agree to any reduction in his sanction” in order to reduce the lifetime ban. Both “validity and strength of information” are important if Armstrong wants to be able to cycle again in competitions.
If Armstrong agrees to help Cookson and his newly established Cycling Independent Reform Commission, he would have to offer not only names of professional racing cyclists whose doping activity has not been revealed yet, but also methods of getting away with doping.
“Actually that’s not going to be in my hands,” Cookson said, “he’s been sanctioned by USADA.”
Although Cookson became the president of International Cycling Union in September 2013, he is determined to examine the history of doping in this sport and reduce sanctions on professional cyclists who have been banned by the USADA. That is contingent upon their providing information and agreeing to cooperate. Cookson plans to start a thorough and impartial investigation that will help him understand what lies beneath the doping activity, as well as how and why professional cyclists resort to doping. For this reason, Peter Nicholson, a specialist investigator is also part of the team established by the International Cycling Union’s president.
Lance Armstrong could cycle again if he is ready to cooperate with Cookson and his team, but even if his lifetime ban might be reduced, he will not receive his medals back. The professional cyclist was stripped of Tour de France medals after a report from USADA accused him of being the leader of a massive doping program. Armstrong agreed to cooperate with the investigation and stated that Hein Verbruggen, an honorary member of the International Olympic Committee, helped him cover up a positive corticosteroid test back in 1999.
Information regarding Armstrong’s doping program continues to appear as Roberto Gaggioli claims that his team was paid off in order to let him win a Philadelphia race. Moreover, Armstrong must answer for what has been called fraudulent endorsement money, which helped him obtain about $17 million. The Armstrong Lie, a movie which depicts the cyclist’s ups and downs has just seen the daylight. The well-researched documentary encompasses not only Armstrong’s glory, but also fall.
If he cooperates with Cookson and brings valuable information with regard to the doping program he established, Lance Armstrong could cycle again. Although the International Cycling Union has no right to reduce his lifetime ban, it can influence the USADA’s decision and convince them to reconsider their conclusion. Armstrong has already given his consent to be part of the investigation, but Cookson mentions that the examination must be as thorough as possible if the former cyclist wishes to enter a competition in the distant future.
By Gabriela Motroc
Los Angeles Times