Lance Armstrong could tell whole truth in return for ban reduction

Lance Armstrong admitted taking performance enhancing drugs en route to claiming cycling's biggest prize. Photo: Canadian Press Association

Lance Armstrong is reaching out.

Now, he’s decided it is time to tell the whole truth, not just the saccharin coated version he gave to Oprah Winfrey.

He will spill every last detail of how and when he took performance enhancing drugs, how he evaded the testers, where he got the drugs from, whether he paid off any officials along the way and the names of everyone who was at it with him: fellow riders, doctors, coaches; everyone.

Or will he?

The stage waiting for him is the so called ‘Truth and Reconciliation’ commission being set up by cycling’s governing body, the UCI.

The commission is the brainchild of new UCI president Brian Cookson and it is an attempt, once and for all, to rid cycling of its murky, cheating, drug-fuelled past.

Tell us what you know and we’ll do a deal.

Despite his lifetime of lying and suspicions of his motives, Armstrong would be the commission’s star witness and without his contribution, unpalatable though it may be, the whole process would lack credibility.

Armstrong was stripped of seven Tour de France titles won between 1999 and 2005. Credit: ABACA

So what’s in it for Armstrong? He has been given countless opportunities to engage with the American anti-doping agency (USADA) who exposed his lies and brought his counterfeit world crashing down.

The reason is because Armstrong sniffs a reduction in his lifetime ban from all sport.

USADA has the power to cut the sanctions they imposed but are holding back on any promises; Armstrong has walked to the border of truth many times before but has yet to cross it.

Under current rules the most he could expect is his ban revised to eight years but the man who headed up the investigation into Armstrong, Travis Tygart, told me today in Johannesburg he would need to come up with something pretty extraordinary for them to even consider that.

Without that carrot, it is unlikely Armstrong will ever testify.

The last remnants of power he holds is the information he has yet to reveal and who knows how earth shattering that actually is.

Once he’s given that up, he is of no value to anyone, so Armstrong would need a cast iron deal well in advance.

But the days when Armstrong got what he what he wanted, when he wanted it, are long gone.