Former WADA chief urges Armstrong to co-operate

Updated 17 January 2013
0

Former WADA chief urges Armstrong to co-operate

LOS ANGELES: The former head of the World Anti-Doping Agency, Dick Pound, has called on Lance Armstrong to co-operate fully with drug-testing authorities if he wants to have his lifetime ban from the sport lifted.
Armstrong has given his first interview since being stripped of his seven Tour de France victories and banished from the sport. In it, the talk show host Oprah Winfrey, who talked to the Texan for two-and-a-half hours, said he admitted doping.
But on the eve of the much-anticipated broadcast and as speculation swirled about the extent of his confession, Pound said Armstrong should face a proper grilling from anti-doping and cycling authorities, naming names and details about how he cheated.
“Simply by confessing to what everybody knows is not going to do anything here,” Pound said in an interview.
“USADA (US Anti-Doping Agency) can, if Lance provides significant or substantial assistance in the fight against doping in sport, make a recommendation to change the ban from life to something less than life, depending on the degree of information and assistance he gives.” The USADA last year said Armstrong was at the center of the most sophisticated doping program in the history of sport, publishing reams of damning eye witness testimony from former team-mates about the extent of his cheating.
The scandal plunged the sport into crisis, raising questions about how he was able to avoid detection for so long, amid claims that the International Cycling Union (UCI) governing body turned a blind eye to widespread doping in the peloton.
Pound, who is now a member of the International Olympic Committee, alleged that professional racers were tipped off about how to evade tests for the illegal blood booster erythropoetin (EPO).
A Swiss lab even met Armstrong and his former team manager Johan Bruyneel at the request of the UCI to explain the EPO testing process, after the rider had given a “suspicious” test in a race in 2001, USADA has said.
Pound said that by giving the interview now and admitting what he had always denied, Armstrong could be hoping to pave the way for a return to competition in marathons and triathlons and rehabilitate his tattered reputation.
But he said mitigating his ban would depend on whether he told all.
“Redemption is something the public will or will not give,” said Pound. “That is one of the areas he could provide substantial assistance. If he said, ‘yes, indeed, the people who are directing UCI or the people in UCI are tipping us off.” The choice of Winfrey for a public confessional has sown doubts about how much scrutiny Armstrong faced, although she said that, “the most important questions and the answers that people around the world have been waiting to hear were answered.”
Winfrey previously interviewed US athlete Marion Jones, after she admitted taking performance-enhancing drugs and was jailed.
Pound’s comments echo those of his successor as WADA director-general, David Howman, and the UCI, who both want Armstrong to give testimony to the relevant authorities.
“From what little I know about his (Armstrong) character, he will try for the minimum,” said the Canadian, a long-standing critic of the UCI and its drug-testing procedures.
“If I were writing the script for him I would say, ‘I have done this and I was wrong. I was just so obsessed with winning that I let all this get in the way of my judgment.’ “He is the one who is making the confession, so in a sense he gets a chance to choose what it is. What he risks is that if he gets a softball outcome like Marion Jones got then people are going to be even more put off.”


Romelu Lukaku, Eden Hazard beat Tunisia and power Belgium to brink of World Cup last 16

Updated 23 June 2018
0

Romelu Lukaku, Eden Hazard beat Tunisia and power Belgium to brink of World Cup last 16

  • Romelu Lukaku drew level with Cristiano Ronaldo at the top of the World Cup goalscoring charts on Saturday
  • Belgium captain Eden Hazard scored in either half, including an early penalty at the Spartak Stadium

MOSCOW: Romelu Lukaku drew level with Cristiano Ronaldo at the top of the World Cup goalscoring charts on Saturday, scoring twice as Belgium moved to the brink of the last 16 after a 5-2 romp against Tunisia.
The victory leaves the Red Devils top of Group G with two wins ahead of their clash on Thursday against England, who play Panama on Sunday.
After also scoring twice in the opening 3-0 win against Panama, Manchester United’s Lukaku showed clinical finishing with two first-half goals in Moscow, matching Ronaldo’s tally in Russia.
Not to be outdone, Belgium captain Eden Hazard scored in either half, including an early penalty at the Spartak Stadium, before substitute Michy Batshuayi added their fifth.
Tunisia’s consolation goals came from defender Dylan Bronn and captain Wahbi Khazri.
The Belgians were criticized by coach Roberto Martinez for starting slowly against Panama in their first group match but flew out of the blocks in Moscow.
Hazard — having been on the receiving end of some bruising tackles in Belgium’s opener — was sent tumbling after just five minutes but converted the penalty to open his Russian account.
Midfielder Ferjani Sassi picked up an early booking for complaining when Tunisia’s appeals for a penalty fell on deaf ears, just before Belgium added their second goal.
Ali Maaloul’s weak pass on the halfway line was collected by Dries Mertens, who sprinted away and put Lukaku clear.
The striker coolly hit his shot inside the far post, just past the outstretched glove of Tunisia keeper Farouk Ben Mustapha, in the 16th minute.
Tunisia responded two minutes later, Bronn leaping highest to head home a free-kick from his skipper Khazri on 18 minutes, only to be later carried off after landing awkwardly following a collision.
With half-time approaching, the Belgians grabbed their third goal.
After earlier squandering two clear chances created by Kevin De Bruyne, Lukaku converted his third opportunity just before the half-time whistle.
Thomas Meunier put him in behind the defense and Lukaku tucked his shot away, celebrating with De Bruyne, who started the move.
The Manchester City midfield maestro turned provider again after the break for Hazard.
The Chelsea star sprinted onto De Bruyne’s lofted pass, held off two defenders, rounded keeper Ben Mustapha and tapped home Belgium’s fourth goal in the 51st minute.
With one eye on the England game, Martinez took off Lukaku, then Hazard as the half wore on and for the final 22 minutes brought on Batshuayi, who could have scored five.
The Borussia Dortmund forward had a chance cleared off the line, was twice denied by Ben Mustapha’s saves and hit the crossbar, finally converting a cross for Belgium’s fifth goal.
Tunisia captain Khazri grabbed their second goal just before the final whistle of their second defeat in Russia.