sport

Armstrong 'no' to USADA interview

Lance Armstrong has refused to be interviewed under oath by the United States Anti-Doping Agency's officials, his attorney has confirmed.

The USADA had given the disgraced cyclist a two-week extension to participate with investigators, having initially been given until February 7 to confess all under oath.

And while the American's lawyer Tim Herman stated Armstrong is willing to "co-operate fully", he "will not participate in USADA's efforts to selectively conduct American prosecutions that only demonise selected individuals".

The USADA wanted Armstrong to confess all under oath after the 41-year-old admitted to doping during each of his seven Tour de France triumphs in a televised interview with Oprah Winfrey last month.

Armstrong said in the same interview he would "be the first man through the door" to take part in a truth and reconciliation hearing.

An agreement appeared close when the USADA stated Armstrong wants to "assist in the effort to clean up the sport of cycling" when they agreed to an extension, although those hopes have been dealt a blow with the release of his lawyer's statement.

"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 the statement.

"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 demonise selected individuals while failing to address the 95 per cent of the sport over which USADA has no jurisdiction."

The USADA revealed last year that Armstrong had led "the most sophisticated, professionalised and successful doping programme sport has ever seen" before he was subsequently stripped of his seven Tour titles by the UCI, cycling's world governing body.

Travis Tygart, chief executive of the USADA, expressed his disappointment at Armstrong's decision but insisted the agency will continue their investigation to clean up cycling without him.

"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 fulfil our promise to clean athletes to protect their right to compete on a drug-free playing field."