Anti-doping chief frustrated by Armstrong silence

Anti-doping chief frustrated by Armstrong silence
Lance Armstrong

Lance Armstrong can still do good for cycling by telling the truth about his doping past, according to United States anti-doping chief Travis Tygart.

Armstrong was this year stripped of his seven Tour de France titles after a United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) report placed him front and centre in "the most sophisticated, professionalised and successful doping programme that sport has ever seen".

Armstrong himself has remained silent on the subject, something which has disappointed USADA chief executive Tygart.

"We gave him an opportunity to come in and be truthful," he told the Guardian. "That was probably the lowest point for me, because I really thought the change for sport and the legacy of this effort could have been huge, far bigger if he had embraced being a solution rather than an ongoing problem.

"I just know the power of an athlete in that predicament. We had 11 athletes come forward and their stories are what has allowed this to happen and they're very powerful.

"To be the one, with the reach and the appeal he has, could have taken it to a whole new level as far as the good that could come from it is concerned. It would be as big as we've ever seen in terms of promoting the integrity and the values of sport."

Tygart was critical of the role of the International Cycling Union (UCI), who were hostile to USADA's initial decision and took some weeks to announce they would not oppose the move to strip Armstrong of his titles.

"Actions speak louder than words," he said. "They had an opportunity to support us from the beginning and not do a flip-flip and attack us in the press, attack our authority, attack our jurisdiction.

"Then they had an opportunity to fully embrace the right outcome, which the entire world - including a number of corporate sponsors - embraced and not again justify or look for excuses for their failure."

He went on: "The justification that came out seemed to be full of excuses, not solutions going forward. It's very selfish. It's very self-interested, rather than being for a bigger purpose or a bigger vision. It's very defensive."

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