Former cyclist Lance Armstrong, who was stripped of his seven Tour de France titles for doping last October, is said to be considering admitting publicly that he used banned performance-enhancing drugs and blood transfusions during his disgraced cycling career.
Lance Armstrong, 41, is reported to have told anti-doping officials that he will make a public admission of guilt in the hope than he can persuade them to restore his eligibility to compete in triathlons, which have replaced cycling as his sporting passion.
For more than a decade, Lance Armstrong has vehemently denied ever doping, even after anti-doping officials laid out their case against him last October in a report which accused him of running “the most sophisticated, professionalized and successful doping program that sport has ever seen”.
All Lance Armstrong’s results from August 1, 1998 were expunged from the record books, including his seven consecutive Tour de France “wins” from 1999 to 2005, and he was banned from cycling for life.
Up until now Lance Armstrong has refused to cooperate with the investigation and has consistently denied wrongdoing, but he has been under pressure from various fronts to confess.
Wealthy supporters of Livestrong, the charity he founded after surviving testicular cancer, have been trying to persuade him to come forward so he could clear his conscience and save the organization from further damage.
According to The New York Times, Lance Armstrong has been in discussions with the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) and met the agency’s chief executive, Travis Tygart, in an effort to mitigate the lifetime ban he received for playing a lead role in doping on his Tour-winning teams.
Lance Armstrong is also seeking to meet with David Howman, the director general of the World Anti-Doping Agency.
Since quitting cycling, Lance Armstrong has hopes of competing in triathlons and running events, but those competitions are often sanctioned by organizations that adhere to the World Anti-Doping Code, under which Lance Armstrong received his lifetime ban.
According to the code, an athlete might be eligible for a reduced punishment if he fully confesses and details how he doped, who helped him dope and how he got away with doping.
Lance Armstrong has been keeping a low profile since doping revelations ruined his once illustrious career and reputation.
In November he was spotted canoeing in the warm Pacific waters just off Hawaii. The holiday island has become a regular destination for Lance Armstrong to seek refuge, as he throws himself into training for Ironman Triathlon events.
An Ironman Triathlon consists of a 2.4-mile swim, a 112-mile bicycle ride and a marathon 26.2-mile run, raced in that order and without a break. Most Ironman events have a strict time limit of 17 hours to complete the race.