Lance Armstrong’s attorney denies cyclist planning to admit he used performance-enhancing drugs

Posted at 3:42 PM, Jan 05, 2013
and last updated 2013-01-05 15:43:28-05

(CNN) – Lance Armstrong’s attorney denied his client was in discussion with the U.S. or world anti-doping agencies following a report by The New York Times that the disgraced cycling icon was contemplating publicly admitting he used illegal performance-enhancing drugs.

Attorney Tim Herman in an email to CNN Sports late Friday did not address whether Armstrong told associates — as reported by the newspaper — that he was considering the admission as a way to restore his athletic eligibility.

Armstrong was stripped of his seven Tour de France titles and banned for life last year after the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency found there was overwhelming evidence that he was directly involved in a sophisticated doping program.

Armstrong has repeatedly and vehemently denied that he used banned performance-enhancing drugs as well as illegal blood transfusions during his cycling career.

In the past, Armstrong has argued that he took more than 500 drug tests and never failed. In its 202-page report that detailed Armstrong’s alleged use of performance-enhancing drugs and blood transfusions, the USADA said it had tested Armstrong less than 60 times and the International Cycling Union conducted about 215 tests.

The agency did not say that Armstrong ever failed a test, but his former teammates testified as to how they beat tests or avoided the tests altogether.

The New York Times, citing unnamed associates and anti-doping officials, said Armstrong has been in discussions with USADA officials and hopes to meet with David Howman chief of the World Anti-Doping Agency. The newspaper said none of the people with knowledge of Armstrong’s situation wanted to be identified because it would jeopardize their access to information on the matter.

Under World Anti-Doping Agency rules, an athlete who confesses to using performance-enhancing drugs may be eligible for a reinstatement.

Armstrong has been an icon for his cycling feats and celebrity, bringing more status to a sport wildly popular in some nations but lacking big-name recognition, big money and mass appeal in the United States.

He fought back from testicular cancer to win the Tour from 1999 to 2005. He raised millions via his Lance Armstrong Foundation to help cancer victims and survivors, an effort illustrated by trendy yellow “LiveSTRONG” wristbands that helped bring in the money.

The cyclist’s one-time high-profile relationship with singer Sheryl Crow also kept him in the public eye.

But Armstrong has long been dogged by doping allegations, with compatriot Floyd Landis — who was stripped of his 2006 Tour de France title after failing a drug test — making a series of claims in 2011.

Armstrong sued the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency last year to stop its investigation of him, arguing it did not have the right to prosecute him. But after a federal judge dismissed the case, Armstrong said he would no longer participate in the investigation.

In October 2012, Armstrong was stripped of his titles and banned. Weeks later, he stepped down from the board of his foundation, Livestrong.

It is unclear whether Armstrong would face criminal prosecution for perjury should he confess. Armstrong was involved in several cases where he gave sworn testimony that he never used banned drugs.

Armstrong and his publicist did not immediately respond to a CNN requests late Friday and early Saturday for comment on The New York Times report.