Within the last month, The New York Times has published that Lance Armstrong’s representatives reached out to Travis Tygart, Chief Executive of the United States Anti-Doping Agency, to arrange a meeting between Armstrong and the agency. The goal of that meeting was to find out if a confession could mitigate Armstrong’s lifetime ban from Olympic sports.
The rift between Armstrong and the USADA has been well documented and on public display as Armstrong called Tygart “an anti doping zealot” with a vendetta against him even as the agency released more than 1,000 pages of evidence in October laying out the case that Armstrong had doped and had been a part of a sophisticated doping scheme on his cycling teams. In response to Armstrong refusing to resist the accusations, the USADA issued a lifetime ban for the Texan from professional sports that follow the World Anti Doping Code.
Armstrong, 41, would like to resume competing in triathlons and running events that are sanctioned by organizations that follow the World Anti-Doping Code. Tygart wants to know how Armstrong so skillfully eluded testing positive for banned drugs for nearly a decade. An unlikely pairing if ever there was one.
Tim Herman, Armstrong’s Austin-based lawyer, said that talks with Tygart and the anti doping agency are not on the table. Armstrong has not met with Tygart, Herman said. Tygart has said in the past that he is interested in hearing from athletes who doped because they could lead him to the coaches, agents, doctors, team owners or other sports personnel who organized or encouraged doping.
No one can speculate how or if Armstrong’s lifetime ban would change if Armstrong confessed. It would depend on what Armstrong said and if his information could lead to the prosecution of others. The World Anti-Doping Code, the rules to which Olympic sports adhere, says athletes who provide “substantial assistance” to anti doping authorities in a doping investigation could receive up to a 75 percent reduction of punishment.
Whether Armstrong will make a public about-face and admit to doping is unclear. Several legal cases stand between him and his confession.