Former WADA chief urges Armstrong to co-operate

Updated 17 January 2013
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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.”


Profligate Arsenal punished by 10-man Atletico Madrid

The gunners could not defeat 10-man Atletico Madrid. (AFP)
Updated 27 April 2018
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Profligate Arsenal punished by 10-man Atletico Madrid

  • The Gunners played with an extra man for over 80 minutes
  • Arsenal now need to become the first away team to score in 12 matches at Atletico’s Wanda Metropolitano stadium next week

LONDON: Arsenal’s hopes of sending outgoing manager Arsene Wenger off with a trophy suffered a major blow as they could only draw 1-1 with 10-man Atletico Madrid in the first leg of their Europa League semifinal on Thursday.
The Gunners played with an extra man for over 80 minutes at the Emirates Stadium, with Sime Vrsaljko’s early red card handing them the initiative.
However, they were made to rue a host of missed chances before and after Alexandre Lacazette headed them in front on the hour mark.
Atletico coach Diego Simeone was also sent to the stands shortly after Vrsaljko’s dismissal, but the Spaniards resisted manfully and pounced when their chance came as Antoine Griezmann prodded home a vital away goal eight minutes from time.
Arsenal now need to become the first away team to score in 12 matches at Atletico’s Wanda Metropolitano stadium next week if Wenger’s last game in charge is to be the final in his homeland in Lyon on May 16.
Moreover, Arsenal’s hopes of Champions League football next season also hang on becoming the first side other than Real Madrid to eliminate Atletico from Europe for five seasons.
There was a far more highly-charged atmosphere for Wenger’s penultimate home game in charge than there had been for last weekend’s game against West Ham United.
And the hosts were given plenty of encouragement early on, even when still up against Atletico’s full complement.
Lacazette volleyed off the outside of the post and forced Jan Oblak into the first of a series of fine saves with a header from close range.
Vrsaljko had been booked within two minutes for bringing down Jack Wilshere.

And the Croatian left his side a man light after just 10 minutes when French referee Clement Turpin showed no leniency for another late challenge on Lacazette.
Moments later, Simeone was also dismissed by the officious referee for taking his protests too far when an Arsenal player wasn’t booked for what he thought was a similar foul.
Atletico’s excellent defensive record is what has carried them to five European semifinals in seven seasons under Simeone.
The visitors battened down the hatches with 10 men, but were reliant on Oblak to keep them in the tie.
Wilshere headed straight at Oblak when unmarked at the back post at the end of a flowing Arsenal move.
And the Slovenian then spread himself well with an outstretched leg to deny Danny Welbeck.
Having weathered the Gunners’ early storm, Atletico only began to threaten themselves late in the first half and David Ospina had to be alert to parry a fiercely struck Griezmann shot following a fine run from Thomas Partey.
Atletico retreated ever deeper toward their own goal after the break and were finally punished on the hour mark when Wilshere’s deep cross found Lacazette rising above Lucas Hernandez to head in his seventh goal in seven games.
However, the French international and Arsenal could have had more.
Laczette’s dangerous ball across goal found no takers before he headed another good opportunity wide.
And Arsenal paid heavily for their profligacy, and some comical defending, when Atletico grabbed a vital away goal on 82 minutes.
Griezmann outmuscled French international team-mate Laurent Koscielny and then benefited from a slip by Shkodran Mustafi after his initial effort had been saved by Ospina to prod his 27th goal of the season into the roof of the net.
There was still time for Oblak to show why Griezmann isn’t the only Atletico player wanted by Europe’s elite with a spectacular one-handed save to turn Aaron Ramsey’s header behind and keep Los Rojiblancos on course for another European final.