Lance Armstrong, who in the 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 antidoping officials he is considering publicly admitting he used banned performance-enhancing drugs and blood transfusions during his cycling career, the New York Times reported Friday.
He would do this, the newspaper said, because he wants to persuade antidoping officials to restore his eligibility so he can resume his athletic career.
For more than a decade Armstrong has vehemently denied doping, even after antidoping officials laid out their case against him in October in hundreds of pages of eyewitness testimony from teammates, email correspondence, financial records and laboratory analyses.
When asked if Armstrong might admit to doping, his longtime lawyer, Tim Herman, 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 New York Times said. Among the obstacles is a federal whistle-blower case in which he and several officials from Armstrong's U.S. 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 U.S. Anti-Doping Agency and has met with its chief executive, Travis Tygart, in an effort to mitigate the lifetime ban he received for playing a lead role in doping on his Tour-winning teams, the newspaper said.
Armstrong is also seeking to meet with the director general of the World Anti-Doping Agency, David Howman.
Herman denied Armstrong was talking to Tygart.
Tygart declined to comment. Howman, who is on vacation, did not respond to a phone call and an email.
Armstrong has been under pressure from various fronts to come clean. Supporters of Livestrong, the charity he 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, the New York Times 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.