Lance Armstrong, who this fall was stripped of his seven Tour de France titles for doping and barred for life from competing in all Olympic sports, has told associates and anti-doping officials that he is considering publicly admitting that he used banned performance-enhancing drugs and blood transfusions during his cycling career, according to several people with direct knowledge of the situation. He would do this, the people said, because he wants to persuade anti-doping officials to restore his eligibility so he can resume his athletic career.
For more than a decade, Armstrong has vehemently denied doping, even after anti-doping officials laid out their case against him in October in hundreds of pages of eyewitness testimony from teammates, e-mail correspondence, financial records, and laboratory analyses.
When asked if Armstrong might admit to doping, Tim Herman, Armstrong’s longtime lawyer, said: ‘‘I do not know about that. I suppose anything is possible, for sure. Right now, that’s really not on the table.’’
Several legal cases stand in the way of a confession, the people familiar with the situation said. Among the obstacles is a federal whistle-blower case in which he and several officials from Armstrong’s US Postal Service cycling team are accused of defrauding the government by allowing doping on the squad when the team’s contract with the Postal Service explicitly forbade it.
Armstrong, 41, has been in discussions with the US Anti-Doping Agency and has met with Travis Tygart, the agency’s chief executive, in an effort to mitigate the lifetime ban he received for playing a lead role in doping on his Tour-winning teams, according to one person briefed on the situation.
Armstrong is also seeking to meet with David Howman, director general of the World Anti-Doping Agency, that person said.
Herman denied that Armstrong was talking to Tygart.
Those with knowledge of Armstrong’s situation did not want their names published because it would jeopardize their access to information on the matter.
Tygart declined to comment. Howman, who is on vacation in New Zealand, did not immediately respond to a phone call and an email.
Wealthy supporters of Livestrong, the charity Armstrong founded after surviving testicular cancer, have been trying to persuade him to come forward so he could clear his conscience and save the organization from further damage, one person with knowledge of the situation said.
Armstrong also hopes to compete in triathlons and running events, but those competitions are often sanctioned by organizations that adhere to the World Anti-Doping Code under which Armstrong received his lifetime ban.