World Anti-Doping Agency director general David Howman says his organization has had no approach from cyclist Lance Armstrong that would indicate he is about to admit using performance-enhancing drugs.
But Howman, who is holidaying in his native New Zealand, told the Sunday Star-Times newspaper he had an “open line” should Armstrong wish to make contact.
The New York Times on Friday quoted anonymous sources as saying Armstrong, who has strongly denied the doping charges that led to him being stripped of his seven Tour de France titles, is considering admitting drug use.
The Times said “according to several people with direct knowledge of the situation” Armstrong might seek a meeting with Howman. But Howman told the Star-Times “WADA hasn’t, and I haven’t, had any approach from Armstrong or his legal team.”
“I have to say, I was kind of surprised when you rang and then your call was followed pretty quickly by the New York Times,” Howman said. “The information [the New York Times] got didn’t come from me. I don’t know where it came from.”
Howman said he would be prepared to meet with Armstrong if the 41-year-old made contact.
“I’ve not met [Armstrong] but I’m happy to be approached and engaged, I’ve got an open line,” he said. “It would be senseless for [WADA] to say otherwise.”
Armstrong has been banned for life from cycling and from competing in athletic events sanctioned by WADA or the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency. Reports have suggested that Armstrong and his legal team might see a full confession as a first step towards eventually having his life ban overturned.
“He will only be able to compete again were his life ban to be altered,” Howman told the Sunday Star-Times. “The only thing I can think of is that he and his legal team would have to make an application to those who are responsible for imposing the life ban for a re-hearing.
“I’d expect that any re-hearing would have to be based on information obtained in a sworn statement. [Amrstrong might say] ’here’s what I can tell you, here’s what it all is. Can you, please, as a result of this, reconsider the sanction?“’