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Tuesday 16 September 2014

IOC: Dick Pound ‘jumped the gun’ by claiming cycling’s Olympic future in doubt

Martyn Ziegler

Published 16/01/2013 | 11:06

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THE International Olympic Committee claims it is "premature" to even consider cycling's future in the Games following the Lance Armstrong scandal.

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IOC member Dick Pound, a former head of the World Anti-Doping Agency, claimed cycling might have to be dropped from the Olympics if Armstrong implicated the International Cycling Union (UCI) in a cover-up of his systematic doping.



The American, who has been stripped of his seven Tour de France titles, has given an interview to Oprah Winfrey's talk-show to be screened tomorrow in which he apparently confessed his doping past.



Pound claimed the IOC may have to take action against the UCI if Armstrong's interview shows the governing body acted improperly.



But IOC communications director Mark Adams said it was too early to even consider any repercussions.



Adams told the Press Association: "I think it is a little premature to talk about such things. He {Pound] is basing his comments on the reports of an interview that has not yet been broadcast - once it has been and once UCI and USADA have commented I think it will be clear the direction we will all be going."



In December, the IOC postponed a decision on whether to strip Armstrong of his Olympic bronze medal because it had to wait until the UCI had declared all his results ineligible.



If Armstrong does make a full confession in his interview however the IOC will ask for the medal to be returned.



Adams added: "From our side - clearly if he admits he cheated then we will be asking for the medal back as we would with any athlete."



Armstrong faces a series of interviews over his sordid past if he is to one day return to sporting competition.



The World Anti-Doping Agency ( WADA) and the UCI have told Armstrong to share his information with the authorities.



Armstrong was banned for life after the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) found he had been at the heart of "the most sophisticated, professionalised and successful doping programme that sport has ever seen".



The motives for an admission - revealed yesterday by Winfrey - are unclear, but the 41-year-old Texan, who retired from cycling for a second time in 2010, was competing in triathlons until he was banned last year.



Reacting to Winfrey's comments ahead of Thursday's broadcast of the first part of the interview, WADA director general David Howman said in a statement: "Only when Mr Armstrong makes a full confession under oath - and tells the anti-doping authorities all he knows about doping activities - can any legal and proper process for him to seek any reopening or reconsideration of his lifetime ban commence."



The UCI also urged Armstrong to co-operate with official channels and join the independent review it set up in the aftermath of the USADA report.



An admission of guilt opens up Armstrong to all manner of legal actions, but Winfrey believes he was "ready" to come clean, albeit his admission did not happen in the way she had expected.



Armstrong and Winfrey met in the disgraced cyclist's home city of Austin, Texas to record the interview on Monday.



It was later revealed the interview between the pair will be broadcast over two nights - leading to suggestions of profiteering - and Winfrey commented on her experience interviewing the man labelled the single biggest cheat in sporting history.



"I feel that he answered the questions in a way that (suggested) he was ready," talk show host Winfrey told the CBS This Morning programme.



"I would say he did not come clean in the manner that I had expected. It was surprising to me."



The first part of the interview will be shown on the 'Oprah' show at 9pm local time on Thursday (2am GMT on Friday), with the second to follow 24 hours later.



Winfrey said she was "satisfied" with Armstrong's answers during her interview; indeed, she was "mesmerised and riveted" by some.



She described Armstrong as "emotional" during the interview, but added that he "certainly had prepared himself". As had she.



"I had prepared like it was a college exam and walked into the room with 112 questions," she said.



"In a two-and-a-half-hour interview I asked most of those questions, or at least as many as I could."

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