Armstrong hopes lifetime ban will be lifted

PARIS Sat Jan 19, 2013 10:19am IST

Lance Armstrong (2nd L) runs with with a crowd of people after sending a tweet to Montrealers to meet him for a run at Mount Royal park in Montreal August 29, 2012. REUTERS/Christinne Muschi/Files

Lance Armstrong (2nd L) runs with with a crowd of people after sending a tweet to Montrealers to meet him for a run at Mount Royal park in Montreal August 29, 2012.

Credit: Reuters/Christinne Muschi/Files

A statue of Ganesh, the deity of prosperity, is carried in a taxi to a place of worship on the first day of the ten-day-long Ganesh Chaturthi festival in Mumbai August 29, 2014. REUTERS/Danish Siddiqui

Ganesh Chaturthi Festival

During Ganesh Chaturthi idols will be taken through the streets in a procession accompanied by dancing and singing, and will be immersed in a river or the sea in accordance with Hindu faith.  Slideshow 

PARIS (Reuters) - Lance Armstrong hopes his lifetime ban for using performance-enhancing drugs will one day be lifted but the disgraced cyclist knows there is little chance of anti-doping authorities showing him much leniency.

The American was stripped of his seven Tour de France titles and banned for life after a U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) report described him as the ringmaster of the "most sophisticated, professionalized and successful doping program that sport has ever seen."

Armstrong ended years of vehement and often vicious denial on Thursday by confessing to U.S. talk show host Oprah Winfrey that he cheated his way to his record seven Tour titles with systematic use of banned, performance-enhancing drugs.

Cooperation with anti-doping authorities could, in theory, make him eligible for a reduced sanction, and in the second part of the interview aired on Friday Armstrong said he was holding out hope he could one day compete in a sanctioned event.

"If you're asking me if I want to compete again, the answer is, 'Hell yeah, I'm a competitor,'" the 41-year-old said.

"It's what I've done all my life. I want to race ... There are lots of things I can't do because of the ban. If there is a window of opportunity would I like to run the Chicago marathon when I'm 50? Yes."

Armstrong acknowledged he deserved to be punished but said the penalty he was given was much harsher than the sanctions dished out to other self-confessed cheats, who were given lesser sentences for testifying against him.

Several former team mates, including Levi Leipheimer and Christian Vande Velde, received six-month bans after cooperating with anti-doping authorities.

"When you see the punishment, you are trading my story for a six-month ban, so I got a death penalty meaning I can't compete," he told Winfrey.

"I'm not saying that is unfair but it is different."

USADA are unlikely to offer any reduced sanction unless Armstrong provides answers to lingering questions such as blood tests USADA says showed he was still doping when he came out of retirement to race in 2009 and 2010.

"Armstrong's blood test results during the 2009 and 2010 Tours de France are consistent with his continued use of blood doping," the USADA report stated.

Armstrong maintains he stopped using banned substances and doping methods after his last Tour title in 2005, and reiterated that point in Friday's broadcast.

Winfrey asked Armstrong if he hoped the lifetime ban would be lifted.

"Selfishly yes," he replied. "But realistically, I don't think that's going to happen, and I've got to live with that." (Editing by Peter Rutherford)

Comments (0)
This discussion is now closed. We welcome comments on our articles for a limited period after their publication.

  • Most Popular
  • Most Shared



Championship Decider

Championship Decider

Chen wins world title as Lee falls short again.  Full Article 

U.S. Open

U.S. Open

Errani claims first quarter-finals berth at U.S. Open.  Full Article 

Hamstring Injury

Hamstring Injury

Australia's Clarke limps out of triangular series.  Full Article 

Big Surprise

Big Surprise

Simon delivers first men's upset with win over Ferrer.  Full Article 

Ryder Cup place

Ryder Cup Place

Gallacher fails to earn automatic Ryder Cup place.  Full Article 

Reuters India Mobile

Reuters India Mobile

Get the latest news on the go. Visit Reuters India on your mobile device.  Full Coverage