The fall-out from Lance Armstrong’s expected doping confession is already being considered as the world awaits the broadcast of the disgraced cyclist’s interview with Oprah Winfrey.
The talk-show host has already revealed Armstrong came clean over his sordid past, which saw him stripped of his seven Tour de France titles and banned for life, in their interview in his home city of Austin, Texas on Monday.
The 41-year-old was banned for life after the United States Anti-Doping Agency found he had been at the heart of “the most sophisticated, professionalised and successful doping programme that sport has ever seen”.
The World Anti-Doping Agency and the UCI, cycling’s world governing body, have urged Armstrong to reveal all to the authorities if he is to have any hope of lifting his life ban while also helping them clean up the mess that the sport now finds itself in.
The motives for an admission – revealed by Winfrey – are unclear, but the Texan, who retired from cycling for a second time in 2010, was competing in triathlons until he was banned last year and it is thought it is desire to compete again that motivated his confession.
The Winfrey interview could be just the beginning for Armstrong, with an admission opening him up to a host of possible legal actions.
There are existing suits involving SCA Promotions and The Sunday Times, while the United States Department of Justice could yet join a whistle blower lawsuit filed against Armstrong by former team-mate Floyd Landis.
The False Claims Act lawsuit could see Armstrong forced to repay a substantial sum to the US Government following its sponsorship of cycling through the US Postal Service.
Meanwhile, the UCI is willing to provide an amnesty for those who give evidence to the independent commission on drug use in the sport. The commission, set up by the UCI in October, will investigate if the Governing Body acted appropriately throughout Armstrong’s drug fuelled reign to the top.
WADA and the United States Anti-Doping Agency, the body which investigated and disclosed the misdemeanours in which Lance Armstrong was a central protagonist, believe it is imperative witnesses give evidence “without fear of retribution or retaliation from the UCI”.
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