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Cycling | International Cycling

Armstrong "dark episode" sad day for sport - IOC



Lance Armstrong's confession of years of systematic doping represented a sad day for sport and the former rider should provide evidence to end "this dark episode", the International Olympic Committee(IOC) said on Friday.

Armstrong told chat show host Oprah Winfrey in an interview on Thursday he was a "flawed character" while at last admitting he had cheated his way to seven Tour de France titles.

"If Lance Armstrong believes he can win credibility with this interview then it is too little, too late," IOC Vice-President Thomas Bach told Reuters.

"There are no new facts or evidence related to the USADA (US Anti-Doping Agency) report in the entire interview. It was clearly a well-orchestrated interview which, however, did provide no new facts."

Bach said the American should take the next step towards redemption and offer full disclosure of all details related to his drugs programme.

"What I expect and what would be in his own interest if he is out to recover some credibility is to face under oath an inquiry led by a team of experts," said the German, who is a potential candidate for the IOC presidency this year.

"To meet the respective anti-doping agencies and organisations and offer the whole truth."

Cancer survivor Armstrong admitted to using several methods of doping including EPO and blood transfusions to boost him to seven Tour victories. He had vehemently denied doping for years.

A USADA report last year, however, had said he was at the centre of a sophisticated doping regime over years of competition.

UNFAIR ADVANTAGE

"There can be no place for doping in sport and the IOC unreservedly condemns the actions of Lance Armstrongand all those who seek an unfair advantage against their fellow competitors by taking drugs," the IOC had earlier said in a statement.

"This is indeed a very sad day for sport but there is a positive side if these revelations can begin to draw a line under previous practices."

Hours before the interview, the IOC announced it had stripped Armstrong of his 2000 Olympic Games time-trial bronze, continuing his spectacular fall from grace.

"We now urge Armstrong to present all the evidence he has to the appropriate anti-doping authorities so that we can bring an end to this dark episode and move forward, stronger and cleaner," it said.

Armstrong, 41, had his seven Tour de France titles taken from him and was banned for life by the International Cycling Union (UCI) in October after several riders testified that he took drugs.

The UCI also stripped Armstrong, who had never failed a doping test, of all results since August 1, 1998.

Asked whether cycling's status as an Olympic sport was at risk, Bach said: "It is important that today cycling's doping programme is better than then."

"As there are no new facts regarding USADA's report there is no reason for speculation (on its Olympic status)."



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