21 Feb 2013

Armstrong refuses to be interviewed under oath

2:46 pm on 21 February 2013

Disgraced cyclist Lance Armstrong has said he will not agree to being interviewed under oath by officials from the US Anti-Doping Agency which wants him to reveal all he knows about drug-taking in the cycling world.

Armstrong would have been eligible to have a lifetime ban overturned if he had spoken to the agency, but may also have been left open to significant legal action.

The 41-year-old American admitted taking performance-enhancing drugs during his seven Tour de France wins in an interview with Oprah Winfrey in January this year.

He was was initially given until 6 February to meet Usada officials but was allowed a further two weeks to decide whether to be interviewed, the BBC reports.

But the Texan's statement, released by his attorney Tim Herman, said he is willing to help with the investigation but will not be interviewed by Usada. Armstrong said he will not participate in prosecutions "that only demonize selected individuals".

An agreement appeared close when Usada said he wanted to "assist in the effort to clean up the sport of cycling" when they agreed to the extension, although those hopes have been dealt a blow with the release of the statement.

Usada chief executive Travis Tygart said the agency will continue their investigation to clean up cycling without him.

In June 2012, Lance Armstrong was charged by Usada with using performance-enhancing drugs. He filed a lawsuit against the organisation the following month, accusing them of "corrupt inducements" to other cyclists to testify against him.

However, Armstrong then announced in August that he would not fight the doping charges filed against him, and was given a life ban by Usada and stripped of his Tour de France titles.

The findings were accepted by the International Cycling Union.

Armstrong, who retired from cycling in 2005 but returned to the sport between 2009 and 2012, has called for a 'truth and reconciliation commission' overseen by the World Anti-Doping Agency to look into the issue of doping in the sport.