Ex-USADA chief: Yet another 'attack'
Former U.S. Anti-Doping Agency CEO Terry Madden confirmed Saturday that "one of Lance Armstrong's closest representatives" contacted the agency in 2004 and offered to make a six-figure "gift" -- an offer that was immediately rejected, Madden said.
Madden, now retired and living in Colorado Springs, Colo., went on the record about the incident for the first time in a telephone interview with ESPN.com to back up statements by current USADA chief Travis Tygart.
In the second part of a confessional interview with Oprah Winfrey aired Friday, Armstrong strenuously denied that he or anyone acting on his behalf made such an offer, contradicting statements Tygart first made to "60 Minutes Sports" earlier this month.
"That's not true,'' Armstrong told Winfrey, lifting a finger for emphasis and asking rhetorically why Tygart's account was not included in the voluminous amount of evidence released against him by USADA last October.
"No one representing you,'' Winfrey started to ask.
"Nobody,'' Armstrong answered. "Certainly I had no knowledge of that. But I've asked around: Did anybody? Not true.''
Madden said Tygart, then USADA's general counsel and senior managing director, received a phone call from Armstrong's representative, whom Madden said he could not identify because of a pending federal civil whistleblower suit filed by Armstrong's former teammate Floyd Landis in which Armstrong and other business associates are defendants. The case remains under seal and the U.S. Department of Justice is still weighing whether to intervene as a plaintiff.
"Travis' office was about a five-second walk from mine,'' Madden said. "He informed me, and we immediately rejected the idea. I told him to go back and call the representative and inform him that based on our ethics, we could not accept a donation from anyone we were testing (for performance-enhancing drugs and techniques) or would test in the future.
"We later informed our board of directors and they confirmed we had made the right decision.''
Madden said he could not recall the exact amount of the offer but believed it was between $200,000 and $250,000.
Madden also said he had no personal knowledge of whether Armstrong knew of the representative's approach.
Madden said he did not watch the Winfrey interview but when told that Armstrong denied anyone in his camp had made such an approach, "my reaction was that it was another personal attack on Travis and USADA.''
Madden, a lawyer who also served as chief of staff to former U.S. Olympic Committee president Bill Hybl, was USADA's CEO from the agency's founding in 2000 until 2007, when Tygart succeeded him.
At the height of his career, Armstrong made two separate personal donations totalling $125,000 to the other entity with authority to conduct anti-doping testing on him -- the UCI, cycling's governing body. But in October, after affirming USADA's case against Armstrong and formally stripping his seven Tour de France titles, UCI president Pat McQuaid said the federation's acceptance of the gift -- which has been harshly criticized by World Anti-Doping Agency officials -- may have been a mistake.
In the first portion of the Winfrey interview, Armstrong said he made the donation to the UCI "because they asked me to'' but insisted he did not receive protection from testing positive in return.
"There was no deal -- this is impossible for me to answer this question and have anybody believe it -- it was not in exchange for any cover-up,'' Armstrong said.