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Armstrong confession a convenient truth, says WADA

Cyclist Lance Armstrong is interviewed by Oprah Winfrey in Austin, Texas, in this January 14, 2013 handout photo courtesy of Harpo Studios.
Cyclist Lance Armstrong is interviewed by Oprah Winfrey in Austin, Texas, in this January 14, 2013 handout photo courtesy of Harpo Studios.

By Steve Keating

(Reuters) - The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) was left unimpressed by Lance Armstrong's doping confessions in a television interview, calling the disgraced cyclist's confession a convenient truth.

Armstrong, already stripped of his seven Tour de France titles, revealed his dark secrets to talk show host Oprah Winfrey on Thursday with more revelations expected to follow on Friday in part two of the interview.

As the sporting world digested Armstrong's admission that all seven of his Tour victories were fuelled by performance-enhancing drugs, WADA officials were left unmoved by the American's answers or Winfrey's questioning.

"It seemed to us it was more of a convenient truth than a full display of what went on and that is really what we would ask him to do," WADA director general David Howman told Reuters on Friday.

"First, it displays that talking to a talk show host is not a very effective way of getting the full information out because a talk show host doesn't have the full story.

"I think there were a lot of words put into his mouth, that's not the way you get full information.

"The tough questions have to be asked at some stage if they are going to be answered there may be some benefit."

Both WADA and the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA), who conducted the exhaustive investigation that resulted in Armstrong's lifetime ban, have challenged the 41-year-old to come forward and tell what he knows about the widespread doping in his sport under oath.

According to media reports Armstrong is hoping to trade some insider knowledge of doping in cycling for a reduction of his lifetime ban that would allow him to resume competition in athletic events that adhere to the World Anti-Doping Code.

'IN FAIRYLAND'

"If he wants to be consistent in his process to receive contrition he should put this all on oath and go to USADA so it can be looked at properly under the Code," said Howman.

"I think we have to make it plain. He's been sanctioned, he's been banned for life, the process is over.

"If he wants to reinvigorate the process then he's got to follow the Code and until that happens it's a bit pointless to start debating these things.

"What he is doing is for his own personal gratification. He's welcome to do that, no one is going to criticize that component, but if anyone thinks that in his wildest dreams that it is going to have any effect on his life ban then they are in the same fairyland."

Armstrong told Winfrey he loved his sport and if there was a truth and reconciliation commission and he was invited to attend he would be the "first man through the door".

But so far, WADA has had no indication Armstrong is willing to share his information.

"I welcome it, my door is always open and my phone is always available, everyone else seems to know the number," said Howman.

In the interview, Armstrong denied that a donation to the International Cycling Union (UCI) was to cover up a positive test from the 2001 Tour of Switzerland but Howman remained skeptical.

"There were two donations not one, that hasn't been brought out therefore until we hear the full answer I just have to remain in state of disbelief," he said.

The WADA director general also questioned Armstrong's sincerity when he repeatedly said he had never forced any of his team mates to use performance-enhancing drugs to secure their place on his squad.

"In every barrel of apples there is going to be a few rotten ones and the issue is will that rotten one make the others rotten or not.

"This particular apple... called Armstrong says he didn't make anyone else rotten and I think the public have to make their minds up over that in terms of his influence and bullying which he seems to acknowledge."

(Editing by Alison Wildey)

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