The Daily Telegraph reported today that Lance Armstrong may be given a chance to ask for a reduction to his lifetime ban.
UCI President Brian Cookson told the newspaper on Monday that he had been asked to broker a meeting between the disgraced former Tour de France winner and the US Anti-Doping Agency, which levied the lifetime ban against Armstrong as part of its Reasoned Decision in 2012.
Cookson said that he had been asked by the Cycling Independent Reform Commission, which on Monday released its report into cycling’s doping issues, “to facilitate a further discussion between Lance Armstrong and USADA."
Cookson revealed that this was something he was "happy to do," according to the Daily Telegraph, although he emphasised that the commission was not intending to recommend a reduction in the American's ban.
"The commission itself did not feel that anything Lance told them was sufficient for them to recommend a reduction in his sanction, and I have no evidence to contradict that," Cookson told the newspaper. "I have no desire to be 'the president that let Lance Armstrong off the hook' or anything like that. I'll take my lead from the CIRC."
Cookson said he empathised with Armstrong's contention that he had been treated more severely than his peers, but he also recognised the balancing act that an organisation like USADA had to try and maintain while attempting to catch the PED users.
“I understand Lance Armstrong's position, but I'm not convinced that we would be here talking about this issue if USADA hadn't done what they did [in prosecuting Armstrong]," Cookson told the Daily Telegraph. "I think they did an excellent job.
"I think it's fair to say that Lance was given exceptional treatment, but then again he was an exceptional offender, so I don't have a huge amount of sympathy for Lance Armstrong in that respect."