Cycling: Lance Armstrong wants confession amnesty

 

Lance Armstrong's desire to conjure a reduction in his life ban was laid bare when the disgraced American rider proposed that anybody testifying to a truth and reconciliation commission should be covered by a "complete amnesty" and bans should be handed out on an equal basis.

For the first time Armstrong also attacked the UCI, cycling's governing body, and its embattled president, Pat McQuaid, labelling the Irishman "pathetic" and accusing him of being in "constant CYA [Cover Your Ass] mode". The UCI and its leader are facing mounting criticism for an increasingly shambolic handling of the fallout from the Armstrong affair and a bitter war of words with the World Anti-Doping Agency.

Armstrong said he had advanced the idea of a truth and reconciliation commission to McQuaid in the past but McQuaid wanted "nothing to do with it". McQuaid's current position is to support such a commission.

It was during his interview with Oprah Winfrey two weeks ago that Armstrong first stated his willingness to testify before any truth and reconciliation commission. His belated willingness to offer a confession of sorts has been seen by many in the United States as an attempt to have his ban cut to allow him to compete in triathlon and Iron Man events. That was given further weight by Wednesday's interview in Cycling News, conducted as a Q&A.

"Let's be honest, folks in my situation have their own selfish reasons," he replied in answer to what sort of reconciliation he would expect. "It's why we are here. What is relevant is that everyone is treated equally and fairly. We all made the mess, let's all fix the mess, and let's all be punished equally."

Of his life ban imposed in the wake of the publication of the US anti-doping agency's comprehensive and damning investigation, Armstrong claimed he had been "publicly lynched". A number of the riders who confessed to the US Anti-Doping Agency (Usada) and provided evidence against Armstrong received minimal bans.

"Letting some race the season then giving minor off-season sanctions versus the death penalty [for similar offences] isn't fair and isn't about 'cleaning up cycling'," said Armstrong. "It's about getting your man." The Texan has taken to referring to his life ban as "the death penalty".

Armstrong has a deadline of next Wednesday to volunteer a full confession under oath to Usada. Barring a truth and reconciliation commission, which remains some distance away, that is the only means for him to earn any sort of reduction to his ban.

Armstrong insisted truth and reconciliation remains the sole option. "It's not the best way, it's the only way," he said. "As much as I'm the eye of the storm this is not about one man, one team, one director. This is about cycling and to be frank it's about all endurance sports. Publicly lynching one man and his team will not solve this problem.

"My generation was no different than any other. The 'help' has evolved over the years but the fact remains that our sport is damn hard, the Tour was invented as a 'stunt', and very tough mother f**kers have competed for a century and all looked for advantages. From hopping on trains 100 years ago to EPO now. No generation was exempt or 'clean'. Not Merckx's, not Hinault's, not LeMond's, not Coppi's, not Gimondi's, not Indurain's, not Anquetil's, not Bartali's, and not mine."

Meanwhile, Frank Schleck will miss the Tour de France after he was given a one-year backdated ban for failing a dope test during last year's race. The Luxembourg rider, who finished third in 2011, tested positive for a diuretic.

Suggested Topics
Sport
tennisLive: Follow all the updates from Melbourne as Murray faces Czech Tomas Berdych in the semi-final
Arts and Entertainment
'The Archers' has an audience of about five million
radioA growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried
Arts and Entertainment
Henry VIII played by Damien Lewis
tvReview: Scheming queens-in-waiting, tangled lines of succession and men of lowly birth rising to power – sound familiar?
Sport
Harry Kane celebrates scoring the opening goal for Spurs
footballLive: All the latest transfer news as deadline day looms
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
Young girl and bowl of cereal
food + drink
News
Comic miserablist Larry David in 'Curb Your Enthusiasm'
people
Sport
football
News
i100
Life and Style
Virtual reality headset: 'Essentially a cinema screen that you strap to your face'
techHow virtual reality is thrusting viewers into frontline of global events and putting film-goers at the heart of the action
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Tradewind Recruitment: Maths Teacher

Negotiable: Tradewind Recruitment: Our exclusive client in St Albans Hertfords...

Tradewind Recruitment: KS2 Primary Teachers

Negotiable: Tradewind Recruitment: Key Stage 2 Teachers needed in Hertfordshir...

Ashdown Group: Finance Manager - ACCA/CIMA - St Albans, Hertfordshire

£55000 - £58000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A truly exciting opportunity has ari...

Ashdown Group: Credit Controller - London, Old Street

£25000 - £28000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: Credit Controller - Londo...

Day In a Page

Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

Homeless Veterans appeal

MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

Comedians share stories of depression

The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

Has The Archers lost the plot?

A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

14 office buildings added to protected lists

Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee
World War Z author Max Brooks honours WW1's Harlem Hellfighters in new graphic novel

Max Brooks honours Harlem Hellfighters

The author talks about race, legacy and his Will Smith film option to Tim Walker
Why the league system no longer measures up

League system no longer measures up

Jon Coles, former head of standards at the Department of Education, used to be in charge of school performance rankings. He explains how he would reform the system
Valentine's Day cards: 5 best online card shops

Don't leave it to the petrol station: The best online card shops for Valentine's Day

Can't find a card you like on the high street? Try one of these sites for individual, personalised options, whatever your taste
Diego Costa: Devil in blue who upsets defences is a reminder of what Liverpool have lost

Devil in blue Costa is a reminder of what Liverpool have lost

The Reds are desperately missing Luis Suarez, says Ian Herbert
Ashley Giles: 'I'll watch England – but not as a fan'

Ashley Giles: 'I'll watch England – but not as a fan'

Former one-day coach says he will ‘observe’ their World Cup games – but ‘won’t be jumping up and down’
Greece elections: In times like these, the EU has far more dangerous adversaries than Syriza

Greece elections

In times like these, the EU has far more dangerous adversaries than Syriza, says Patrick Cockburn
Holocaust Memorial Day: Nazi victims remembered as spectre of prejudice reappears

Holocaust Memorial Day

Nazi victims remembered as spectre of prejudice reappears over Europe
Fortitude and the Arctic attraction: Our fascination with the last great wilderness

Magnetic north

The Arctic has always exerted a pull, from Greek myth to new thriller Fortitude. Gerard Gilbert considers what's behind our fascination with the last great wilderness