Lance Armstrong said Wednesday that he will not cooperate with the US Anti-Doping Agency's investigation into dope cheats in cycling but would be willing to help other anti-doping inquiries. The move greatly diminishes Armstrong's chances of having his life ban from World Anti-Doping Agency-sanctioned sport reduced even as it forces USADA to move ahead without his help in looking into others involved in doping.
"Lance is willing to cooperate fully and has been very clear: He will be the first man through the door, and once inside will answer every question, at an international tribunal formed to comprehensively address pro cycling, an almost exclusively European sport," said a statement released through attorney Tim Herman.
"We remain hopeful that an international effort will be mounted, and we will do everything we can to facilitate that result. In the meantime, for several reasons, Lance will not participate in USADA's efforts to selectively conduct American prosecutions that only demonize selected individuals while failing to address the 95 percent of the sport over which USADA has no jurisdiction."
Armstrong, who was stripped of his seven Tour de France titles after a USADA probe uncovered overwhelming evidence he was at the heart of a major doping conspiracy, had missed a February 6 deadline to testify to USADA after his confession in a television interview last month he took performance-enhancing substances to win his titles from 1999-2005.
USADA chief executive Travis T. Tygart had given Armstrong a two-week extension to cooperate in a continuing probe of the doping conspiracy, only to have Armstrong release his answer in his lawyer's statement to the media.
"We have provided Mr. Armstrong several opportunities to assist in our ongoing efforts to clean up the sport of cycling," Tygart said in a statement. Following his recent television interview, we again invited him to come in and provide honest information, and he was informed in writing by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) that this was the appropriate avenue for him if he wanted to be part of the solution.
"Over the last few weeks he has led us to believe that he wanted to come in and assist USADA, but was worried of potential criminal and civil liability if he did so. Today we learned from the media that Mr. Armstrong is choosing not to come in and be truthful and that he will not take the opportunity to work toward righting his wrongs in sport.
"At this time we are moving forward with our investigation without him and we will continue to work closely with WADA and other appropriate and responsible international authorities to fulfill our promise to clean athletes to protect their right to compete on a drug free playing field."