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UCI urges Armstrong to testify

ESPN staff
January 15, 2013 « Dodson chasing pigs & squirrels to prepare for Johnson | Chartbeat test »

The International Cycling Union (UCI) has called on Lance Armstrong to testify before its independent commission on doping in the wake of the disgraced cyclist's interview with Oprah Winfrey.

Media reports claim that Armstrong, who was stripped of his seven Tour de France titles and banned from cycling for life following an investigation by the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA), confessed to doping during his career in the pre-recorded interview, taped on Monday.

However, discussing the interview on American television, Winfrey revealed that Armstrong "did not come clean in the manner I had expected".

Cycling's governing body set up the independent panel to investigate claims in the USADA report that it covered up suspicious samples from Armstrong and his US Postal Service team-mates, accepted financial donations from him and helped him avoid detection in doping tests.

It has since ratified the removal of Armstrong's results in professional cycling dating back to August 1, 1998, but the investigation into whether or not the UCI was complicit or negligent in failing to identify the American as a doper continues, making Armstrong's confession a key turning point in the saga.

"If these reports are true, we would strongly urge Lance Armstrong to testify to the independent commission established to investigate the allegations made against the UCI in the recent USADA reasoned decision on Lance Armstrong and the United States Postal Service team," said a statement from the UCI.

Discussing the interview with Armstrong on American television, Winfrey revealed that the broadcast will now take place over two nights on her OWN channel as she felt unable to shorten it from two-and-a-half hours to 90 minutes.

"I think the entire interview was difficult for Lance Armstrong," Winfrey admitted. "I would say he did not come clean in the manner I had expected. It was surprising to me."

Winfrey confirmed that Armstrong did not have any lawyers present during the interview, as per her request, but did have a team with him and "certainly had prepared himself".

"'Emotional' doesn't begin to describe the intensity or difficulty Lance experienced during interview," she added. "He brought it."

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