Anti-doping chief dismisses chances of Lance riding again

World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) president John Fahey says it would take something “close to a miracle” for Lance Armstrong to have his lifetime ban from cycling reduced even if he co-operated with an inquiry into doping.

The international cycling union (UCI), under new president Brian Cookson, is putting together an independent commission to investigate doping in the sport’s past and says it will make contact with Armstrong about testifying.

Armstrong, who was stripped of his seven Tour de France titles and banned from competitive sport for life last year after admitting to using performance-enhancing drugs, has said he is willing to assist an inquiry.

However, even if he does that, Fahey does not believe it will lead to the 42-year-old Texan’s case being reopened or for it to have any impact on his ban.

“As far as I’m concerned it’s done and dusted. Armstrong did what he did. We all know what that is. He did not co-operate, he did not defend the charges that USADA put out there last year and he was dealt with in a proper process,” Fahey said.

“It would take something close to a miracle to change going forward.”

Fahey also believes the UCI’s planned independent commission is close to being finalised.

“I am confident that from what UCI have indicated, and their wish to get something going, that it will happen within weeks rather than within months,” said the WADA chief, who is due to meet Cookson in Johannesburg this week.

Meanwhile, the cost of Brian Cookson’s campaign to be elected president of the UCI was £120,000 (€142,000), British Cycling has confirmed.

Cookson beat Ireland’s Pat McQuaid after a bitterly-fought election to become the head of international cycling in September.

His campaign funds came from British Cycling’s international relations budget and the governing body said Cookson kept costs to a minimum by travelling standard class on several trips to different parts of the world.

A British Cycling spokesman said: “The cost was just under £120,000. The expenditure is within the limit which was set and came from British Cycling’s international relations budget. It covered the costs of the entire campaign including travel, the production and launch of his manifesto and professional support. All Brian’s travel was standard class and, in most cases, he travelled alone.”

British Cycling believe the expenditure was more than justified given the fact no other candidate was prepared to challenge McQuaid, despite criticism by the US Anti-Doping Agency of the UCI’s handling of the Armstrong scandal.

The spokesman added: “The impetus behind the campaign came from a groundswell of demand for change from our membership.”


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