Armstrong may admit to doping

Updated 06 January 2013
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Armstrong may admit to doping

NEW YORK: Disgraced cyclist Lance Armstrong, who was stripped of his seven Tour de France titles for doping, is weighing whether to admit he used performance-enhancing drugs, The New York Times reported yesterday.
Armstrong has told associates and anti-doping officials he is considering admitting publicly that he used blood transfusions and banned drugs during his cycling career, in an effort to restore his credibility so he can become a competitive athlete again, the newspaper reported.
The Times did not name its sources but cited “several people with direct knowledge of the situation.” The International Cycling Union (UCI) late last year effectively erased Armstrong from the cycling history books when it decided not to appeal sanctions imposed on the American by the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA).
A damning report by USADA concluded that Armstrong helped orchestrate the most sophisticated doping program in the history of sport. The report included hundreds of pages of eyewitness testimony, e-mails, financial records and laboratory analysis of blood samples.
Armstrong has vehemently denied ever having doped.
Tim Herman, a lawyer for Armstrong, told the Times he was not aware of any admission plans.
“I do not know about that. I suppose anything is possible, for sure. Right now, that’s really not on the table,” Herman was quoted as saying.
The newspaper said the 41-year-old Armstrong is seeking to meet with both David Howman, the director general of the World Anti-Doping Agency, and USADA chief executive Travis Tygart.
Herman denied that Armstrong has tried to contact Tygart or Howman.
Cancer survivor Armstrong is the founder of Livestrong and it is believed the cancer-fighting charity is pressuring him to come clean as a way to save the organization from further damage.
Athletes who admit to doping are eligible for reduced punishment under the World Anti-Doping code.
Not only was Armstrong stripped of his Tour de France titles but he was barred for life from competing in Olympic competitions.
The lifetime ban also extends to some of the sanctioned regional triathlons and running events that Armstrong has been competing in since he stopped racing in the Tour de France. Many of those events adhere to the World Anti-Doping Code.
Armstrong won the Tour de France from 1999-2005 but his career crashed following the USADA report, which also has caused him to lose many of his corporate sponsors.

He is also the subject of a whistle-blowing lawsuit filed by his former cycling teammate Floyd Landis and a British newspaper, The Sunday Times, has filed a lawsuit to try and recover $500,000 paid to Armstrong to settle a libel suit.
American track and field athlete Marion Jones denied using performance-enhancing drugs before coming clean in 2007. Jones spent half a year in a US jail for lying to investigators about her drug use and for being part of a check-fraud scheme.


Saudi Arabia prepare to step up World Cup preparations with Italy test

Updated 37 min 17 sec ago
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Saudi Arabia prepare to step up World Cup preparations with Italy test

  • Green Falcons play the Azzurri in Switzerland
  • Mancini: 'Saudi Arabia are a fast and physical team'

Italy coach Roberto Mancini is wary of the threat posed by Saudi Arabia ahead of their friendly on Monday in St.Gallen in Switzerland.
The four-time global champions failed to qualify for the 2018 World Cup and are looking to rebuild ahead of the 2020 European Championships. Mancini was appointed in May to take over the national team and breathe in some new life.
“This is a vital game for us,” Mancini told Saudi Arabian television ahead of the friendly. “We know that Saudi Arabia are preparing for the World Cup so this is a great chance for us to build for the future,” said the former Manchester City boss.
“Saudi Arabia are a fast and physical team,” added Mancini. “All of the players are technically very good and we are looking forward to the test. We have to be careful as some of the players are playing for their World Cup place.”
Mario Balotelli is set to win his first international cap in four years for Italy after being recalled by Mancini.
“We didn’t make the World Cup,” said Balotelli. “Now we have to forget about that and focus on the future.”
The former Manchester City, AC Milan and Liverpool forward is looking forward to the challenge on Monday.
“We have to forget about what happened earlier this year and the fact that we didn’t qualify,” said Balotelli. “That is history now and we are really looking forward to playing Saudi Arabia. I haven’t played for the national team for a long time and I feel that I still have a lot to offer.”
Saudi Arabia are coming off the back of two 2-0 friendly victories against Algeria and Greece in a Spanish training camp that took place in May, but a good result against Italy would increase confidence levels further.
The lowest-ranked of all the 32 teams at the World Cup have a busy preparation period and take on Peru and Germany after the Italy clash. Saudi Arabia will meet the hosts Russia in the opening game of the 2018 World Cup in Moscow on June 14. After that, the Green Falcons take on Uruguay and Egypt in Group A.
“Any game is an important one in the build-up to the World Cup,” Saudi Arabia coach Juan Antonio Pizzi said on Sunday. “But playing Italy is something special. If we can get a good result then it can give us confidence to go on and have a good tournament. The important thing for us is that we feel we believe at this level and that is why we can try and push Italy all the way.”
The Green Falcons have been in Switzerland for a week in what is the fifth and final leg of their World Cup preparations. “Preparations are running smoothly and perfectly,” said Nawaf Al-Temyat, the vice president of Saudi Arabian Football Federation and chairman of World Cup 2018 preparation team, in a video on the federation’s Twitter account.
“We look forward in the coming three weeks to strong preparations. We’ll be playing three tough games against tough opponents. The Italian team has a new coach, Mancini, which is a great motivation for us. The Peruvian team is also a strong one and might be full of surprises in the World Cup. The coach and the players are very skilled.”
The Green Falcons have won three, lost three and drawn one of the seven games since Pizzi replaced Edgardo Bauza.
“We always say in the Saudi team that performance should be good during friendlies and results should be good in official games,” added Al-Temyat. “This means results are not important in friendlies but our performance is.”