• Cycling

Lance running out of time to tell 'truth'

ESPN staff
February 12, 2014
Lance Armstrong and former UCI president Hein Verbruggen will be approached by an independent commission into cycling's doping past © AP

Lance Armstrong has been warned that time is running out for him to tell "all of the truth" and receive a reduction in his lifetime ban from cycling for doping.

Disgraced rider Armstrong has been issued a direct appeal by International Cycling Union president Brian Cookson to come forward and speak to an independent commission looking into cycling's dark doping past.

The commission has been granted the power to offer reduced sanctions for any witnesses not currently serving a ban, while Armstrong was given hope of his suspension potentially being cut to eight years in return for his cooperation.

The final say on a reduction to Armstrong's ban would lie with the United States Anti-Doping Agency, who handed down the original suspension and stripped the American of his seven Tour de France titles for orchestrating the most complex doping programme in sporting history.

"This opportunity will not apply indefinitely. It will only apply for the period in which the commission is operating," said Cookson, who stood for the UCI presidency on a bid to clean up cycling.

"I would suggest to anyone who has something to hide that now is the opportunity to come forward and tell all of the truth - before, perhaps, someone else tells the truth about your activities.

"If you really care about our sport, if you want to make things better, if you want to help restore the damage that's been done to our beautiful sport then please come forward now. Now is the time."

The commission is due to last for up to a year, though could be extended by four months if needed, and has a budget of up to £2.03 million.

Former UCI president Hein Verbruggen - who Armstrong alleged helped him cover up a positive test during his 1999 Tour win - has refused to confirm whether he will speak to the commission, though insists he will not participate in a "witch hunt".

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