United States Anti-doping Agency chief executive Travis Tygart, whose 2012 report led to Armstrong being banned for life and stripped of his seven Tour de France titles, has no complaints that the 43-year-old intends to ride the Tour route this summer.
Armstrong has told former England footballer Geoff Thomas that he will take part in his charity fundraising mission, riding the Tour route one day ahead of the professional peloton.
Tygart said: “As long as it’s not a sanctioned competition that falls under the rules, it’s not a direct concern. That’s outside the technical rules.”
Armstrong in January complained he was prevented from even walking an organised marathon to raise funds for charity.
From next summer, however, the World Anti-doping Agency code (section 10.12.1) will permit the Texan to participate in sports other than cycling and triathlon. He was banned for life from those sports in August 2012.
“If you’re serving a lifetime ineligibility, you can compete after four years in sports that you aren’t sanctioned from,” Tygart added.
“He’ll be able to compete in swimming, table tennis, running, even if they’re sanctioned (events), just not at an elite level. “He’ll be able to do charity events, marathons, swimming events, whatever it may be.
“(But) you can’t enter the elite competition that would lead to international points or qualification for Olympic Games or World Championships or anything like that.”
It may not be enough to satisfy Armstrong’s thirst for competition, but Tygart hopes the 1993 road race world champion’s participation in Thomas’ charity ride — the full extent of which is subject to negotiations – could encourage cooperation with USADA and a potential reduction in the life ban.
Tygart added: “Maybe it will be better received if there’s questions about it, if he comes in and sits down and fully cooperates with us. “We’re hopeful that would happen. That would go a long way in people’s minds that may be concerned about it that he’s genuinely sorry and it’s time to make amends and right the wrongs.”
The olive branch has been in place since USADA was concluding its probe into Armstrong’s United States Postal Service team almost three years ago, but Armstrong has yet to reach out.
Tygart, who says USADA are in contact with Armstrong’s lawyers, added: “We’re hopeful Lance’s has possibly changed, for him to come in, sit down, go through everything with us. “Our position will remain up until that possibility.”