IOC: Lance should talk to agencies

Updated: January 18, 2013, 1:54 PM ET
ESPN.com news services

Tyler Hamilton recognized what he saw during Lance Armstrong's televised confession to doping.

"He's broken. He's broken," Hamilton said in an interview Friday with The Associated Press. "I've never seen him even remotely like that. It doesn't please me to see that."

Hamilton rode for Armstrong's U.S. Postal Service team during his first three Tour de France titles. Hamilton's public confessions to doping -- first in a candid-but-halting "60 Minutes" interview in 2011, then later in a tell-all book that came out last summer -- provided key evidence in the case against Armstrong.

On Thursday, Armstrong's interview with Oprah Winfrey aired, and the cyclist admitted to using performance-enhancing drugs to fuel all seven of his Tour de France victories.

Hamilton, who said he felt a huge sense of relief after telling the truth, applauded Armstrong's decision to come clean, calling it a "big first step," but only a beginning.

"It's what he does moving forward," Hamilton said in a phone interview. "He's saying some of the right things now but the proof is in the pudding. If he just goes and hides away, people are not going to be happy. But if he does the right thing, speaks to Travis Tygart and WADA and tells everything he knows, that's going to make a big difference."

Both Tygart, head of the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency, and World Anti-Doping Agency director general David Howman have said Armstrong will need to offer more than a televised confession to make amends and possibly have his lifetime sports ban reduced.

While admitting to doping in his interview, Armstrong contradicted a key point of Hamilton's: That Armstrong told him he tested positive during the 2001 Tour de Suisse and conspired with International Cycling Union officials to cover it up -- in exchange for a donation.

"That story wasn't true. There was no positive test, no paying off of the labs. There was no secret meeting with the lab director," Armstrong told Winfrey.

Asked about that, Hamilton told the AP: "I stand by what I said. It's all out there. I don't know if it's a legal thing, or why he said that. It doesn't really bother me that much."

Hamilton was also among numerous riders who described the immense pressure Armstrong put on them to take part in the doping. Armstrong told Winfrey nobody was forced to dope.

"Nobody took a syringe and forced it into my arm. I made that decision on my own," Hamilton said. "But you did feel the pressure. When it was all set up for my first blood-doping experience in 2000, when I flew to Spain on Lance's private jet, I don't know what would've happened to me if I'd said, 'I'll stick with EPO but no blood doping.' I assume they would've been angry about it. For me, it was a no-brainer."

Armstrong said he had reached out to some of the people he felt he owed apologies. Hamilton has not heard from him, however, and didn't sound as though he was waiting by the phone.

Hamilton called the entire episode a "huge life lesson" and said Armstrong can help the sport if he's willing to do more, especially if it involves providing information about doctors, managers and other higher-ups in cycling.

"There are still a lot of bad apples in this sport," Hamilton said. "Lance Armstrong did not act alone. There are plenty of people out there who still think they got away with it. I don't think he wants to rat anybody out. But he didn't do this by himself and he didn't learn this by himself."

Meanwhile, a day after stripping Armstrong of his bronze medal from the 2000 Sydney Olympics, the IOC urged Armstrong to supply details to anti-doping authorities in order to "bring an end to this dark episode."

In an interview with The Associated Press, IOC vice president Thomas Bach said Armstrong's admission to Winfrey that he used performance-enhancing drugs -- after years of vehement denials -- was not enough.

"If he thinks this interview would help him get credibility back, I think this is too little, too late," said Bach, a German lawyer who leads the IOC's anti-doping investigations. "It's a first step in the right direction, but no more.

"If he really loves his sport and wants to regain at least some credibility, then he should tell the whole truth and cooperate with the relevant sports bodies," Bach said by telephone. "He needs to give testimony under oath. After lying for more than a dozen years, he needs to be questioned by experts and not just in a well-orchestrated interview."

In a statement from Lausanne, Switzerland, the IOC said: "We now urge Armstrong to present all the evidence he has to the appropriate anti-doping authorities so that we can bring an end to this dark episode and move forward, stronger and cleaner."

Similarly, former world cycling federation president and ICU honorary president Hein Verbruggen said it was "good that Lance Armstrong finally admitted to doping," and welcomed an investigation by the governing body as an important step in repairing damage the disgraced rider did to the sport.

"I agree with its conclusions in particular the fact that there was no cover-up," Verbruggen, who led the UCI from 1991-2005, said in a statement provided to The Associated Press.

"I am pleased that after years of accusations being made against me the conspiracy theories have been shown to be nothing more than that," the Dutch official said. "I have no doubt that the peddlers of such accusations and conspiracies will be disappointed by this outcome."

In the interview with Winfrey, Armstrong acknowledged that he used EPO, testosterone, human growth hormone and blood transfusions in order to win the Tour de France seven times.

"This is not enough," said Bach, who is a leading contender to succeed Jacques Rogge as IOC president in elections in September. "I hoped he would be more precise, that you would get an idea of who were the people behind him. He's even protected the famous Dr. Ferrari."

Bach was referring to Italian doctor Michele Ferrari, who worked closely with Armstrong and has been accused of being a mastermind of the cyclist's doping program.

"In some parts of the interview he was pretty evasive, in some parts contradicting himself," Bach said.

Bach said the interview offered no information beyond the USADA report that detailed widespread doping by Armstrong and his teammates and led to the stripping of his Tour titles and a lifetime ban from Olympic sports.

"We have no new facts -- not a single new fact going beyond the USADA report," Bach said.

Armstrong denied in the interview that cycling body UCI covered up positive tests or helped him avoid detection.

Bach said the interview provided no allegations that would put cycling's Olympic status in jeopardy. Senior Canadian IOC member Dick Pound, a former head of WADA, suggested this week that cycling could be kicked out of the Olympics if there was proof of UCI collusion with Armstrong.

"I still hope for a full inquiry, but in general, you have to consider the anti-doping system since then has changed very much for the better," Bach said. "The UCI has introduced the blood passport, there is more target testing and out-of-competition testing and better methods for detecting EPO. You cannot draw conclusions from 10 years ago."

In Lausanne, the IOC said it "unreservedly condemns" the actions of Armstrong and all drug cheats.

"This is indeed a very sad day for sport but there is a positive side if these revelations can begin to draw a line under previous practices," the statement said. "It is the IOC's firm expectation that all parties involved will draw the necessary lessons from this case and continue to take all measures to ensure a level playing field for all athletes."

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

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