McClatchy News Service
BERLIN — Disgraced Tour de France champion Lance Armstrong has told friends he is considering making a public admission of doping, the New York Times has reported.
The newspaper said Armstrong, who has always vehemently denied doping, wants to persuade anti-doping officials to restore his eligibility so he can resume his athletics career.
Armstrong’s lawyer meanwhile denied his client was in discussion with anti-doping agencies.
The option to confess to anti-doping officials is “not currently on the table,” the report quoted attorney Tim Herman as saying.
When asked if Armstrong might admit to doping, Herman said that “Lance has to speak for himself on that,” according to the report.
Saturday’s New York Times report cited “several people with direct knowledge of the situation” as saying Armstrong had told associates and anti-doping officials he was considering publicly admitting that he used banned performance-enhancing drugs and blood transfusions during his cycling career.
“People familiar with the situation” said Armstrong, 41, had been in discussions with the United States Anti-Doping Agency, the report added.
“Armstrong had met with Travis Tygart, the agency’s chief executive, in an effort to mitigate the lifetime ban he received for playing a lead role in doping on his Tour-winning teams, according to one person briefed on the situation,” the report said.
“Armstrong was also seeking to meet with David Howman, the director general of the World Anti-Doping Agency, that person said.”
The newspaper said none of the people with knowledge of Armstrong’s situation wanted to be identified because it would jeopardize their access to information on the matter.
The report added that Armstrong has been under pressure to confess from wealthy supporters of Livestrong, the charity he founded after surviving testicular cancer.
Armstrong was stripped of his seven Tour de France titles and banned for life last year after the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency found there was overwhelming evidence that he was directly involved in a sophisticated doping program.
Under World Anti-Doping Agency rules, an athlete who confesses to using performance-enhancing drugs may be eligible for a reduced punishment.