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USA Cycling: Armstrong admission "an important step"

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Ochowicz has also been a long-time employee of Thomas Weisel Partners,

Ochowicz has also been a long-time employee of Thomas Weisel Partners, (Image credit: Graham Watson)

USA Cycling today issued a statement urging any riders who have "knowingly and willfully cheated" to come forward with information, "no matter how abhorrent" with the anti-doping authorities.

The federation's press release follows the public confession by Lance Armstrong, who admitted in an interview with Oprah Winfrey, that he doped to obtain each of his seven Tour de France victories. Armstrong, however, failed to name any other riders who were involved in doping or detail exactly how he eluded the anti-doping controls for so long.

"From USA Cycling's perspective, the recent series of confessions by Lance Armstrong and others is an important step," a statement read.

USA Cycling mentions the confessions which came as part USADA's investigations into doping at the US Postal Service team - Floyd Landis, Tyler Hamilton, George Hincapie, Tom Danielson, Christian Vande Velde, David Zabriskie, Levi Leipheimer, Michael Barry and Jonathan Vaughters all gave detailed testimony about their past doping offenses - saying they "cast a much-needed spotlight on what was the darkest era in professional cycling".

"These overdue admissions, and the resulting public scrutiny, are an essential step in ensuring the transgressions of the past are never again repeated. It is only through this process that professional cycling will completely heal."

The statement urges "any rider who knowingly and willfully cheated has an obligation to come forward now and be entirely open and transparent about their actions, no matter how abhorrent, with the relevant anti-doping authorities."

Currently the UCI is fighting against suggestions by USADA and WADA to create a "truth and reconciliation" panel that would allow riders to give details of their doping without receiving full punishment.

In his interview with Winfrey, Armstrong said he could not advocate the formation of this type of panel because he "lacks credibility", but said "if they have it, and I’m invited, I’ll be the first man at the door."

Not specifically mentioning Armstrong, USA Cycling's states it is "interested to see the extent to which those who cheated ... are now willing to reinforce their apologies with substantive efforts to repair the damage they have done, both privately and publicly.

"They owe nothing less to our great sport; to the members of USA Cycling who continually reinforce the highest values of our sport through their participation; and to the next generation of athletes worldwide who already have begun to usher in a new era through their commitment to clean competition and fair play."

USA Cycling itself has come under a cloud of scrutiny as the licensing federation for many of the US Postal Service team members, the agency of registration for the team, and its close association with former team owner Thom Weisel, who at the same time heavily funded USA Cycling through its development foundation, and who installed many of his wealthy friends on its board of directors.

Weisel was named in a federal whistleblower lawsuit, the filing of which was leaked by the NY Daily News this week. USA Cycling denied Weisel had any influence on anti-doping policy or the enforcement of anti-doping rules.

It stated that the money raised from Weisel and others "has been a key both to the tremendous growth of cycling as a popular recreational activity and to the reemergence of the United States as an international cycling power".