In reversal, Armstrong contemplates confession
Lance Armstrong, who this fall was stripped of his seven Tour de France titles for doping and barred for life from competing in all Olympic sports, has told associates and antidoping officials that he is considering publicly admitting that he used banned performance-enhancing drugs and blood transfusions during his cycling career, according to several people with direct knowledge of the situation. He would do this, the people said, because he wants to persuade antidoping officials to restore his eligibility so he can resume his athletic career.
For more than a decade, Armstrong has vehemently denied ever doping, even after antidoping officials laid out their case against him in October in hundreds of pages of eyewitness testimony from teammates, e-mail correspondence, financial records and laboratory analyses. When asked if Armstrong might admit to doping, Tim Herman, Armstrong's longtime lawyer, said, "Lance has to speak for himself on that."
Armstrong has been under pressure from various fronts to confess. Wealthy supporters of Livestrong, the charity he founded after surviving testicular cancer, have been trying to persuade him to come forward so he could clear his conscience and save the organization from further damage, one person with knowledge of the situation said. Several legal cases stand in the way of a confession, the people familiar with the situation said. Among the obstacles is a federal whistle-blower case in which Armstrong and several team officials from his United States Postal Service cycling team are accused of defrauding the government by allowing doping on the squad when the team's contract with the Postal Service clearly stated that any doping would constitute default of their agreement.
Herman said the option to confess to antidoping officials was not currently on the table. However, the people familiar with the situation said Armstrong, 41, was in fact moving toward confessing and had even been in discussions with the United States Anti-Doping Agency. Armstrong had met with Travis Tygart, the agency's chief executive, in an effort to mitigate the lifetime ban he received for playing a lead role in doping on his Tour-winning teams, according to one person briefed on the situation. Armstrong was also seeking to meet with David Howman, the director general of the World Anti-Doping Agency, that person said.
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