Report: Armstrong Trying to Roll Back Ban

But to get back into sports, he's got to play nice with anti-doping agency
By Polly Davis Doig,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 18, 2015 1:00 PM CDT
Report: Armstrong Trying to Roll Back Ban
In this Aug. 29, 2012 file photo, Lance Armstrong speaks to delegates at the World Cancer Congress in Montreal.   (AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Graham Hughes, File)

Lance Armstrong, in possession of a mighty anti-Midas touch of late, would like to compete in high-level triathlons in his abundant spare time, it seems. But that pesky little lifetime ban from sports has forced him to turn to the arms of a longtime thorn in his side, reports the New York Times: The US Anti-Doping Agency, and its chief, Travis Tygart. Sources tell the Times that Tygart and Armstrong recently met in Colorado to discuss softening that ban and that Armstrong is telling his inner circle the meeting went well (a 2012 meeting between the antagonistic pair ended with Armstrong storming out; this after Tygart's report that year labeled the cyclist as having orchestrated "the most sophisticated, professionalized, and successful doping program that sport has ever seen." They don't trade Christmas cards.)

But, to get the reduction, Armstrong has to give up something he's long withheld: "substantial assistance" in the anti-doping effort. Neither side would confirm the meeting, though Tygart tells the Times that "our position has not changed. From the very beginning, our hope has always been that he would come in, sit down, and have a full discussion." Still, he says, "It is premature to talk about any sanction reduction." And Armstrong's position is greatly weakened since he flatly refused a deal with USADA in 2012: Many of the beans he could've spilled are now common knowledge. But Tygart doesn't sound like a deal can't be struck. "The ultimate objective now is to get in a beneficial spot—for both anti-doping and for Lance himself," he says. Meanwhile, Armstrong, who was set to ride part of the Tour de France route to raise money for cancer, has been asked to stay away, reports the LA Times. The cycling federation chief called the plan "completely disrespectful." (More Lance Armstrong stories.)

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