Disgraced cyclist Lance Armstrong is reportedly considering publicly admitting to using performance-enhancing drugs, as he faces a £1m legal action from The Sunday Times.
Armstrong was last year accused of being the ringleader of the “most sophisticated, professionalised and successful doping programme that sport has ever seen” by the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA).
Despite a mass of evidence indicating Armstrong’s use of performance-enhancing drugs and blood transfusions, which saw him stripped of his seven Tour de France titles, the cyclist has denied any wrongdoing.
A report in the New York Times on Friday quoted several unnamed sources suggesting Armstrong could now admit to doping offences in a bid to “restore his eligibility so he can resume his athletic career”.
While backers of Armstrong’s Livestrong charity were said to have put pressure on Armstrong to confess, the NYT notes that “several legal cases stand in the way of a confession”.
Among them is a case being pursued by The Sunday Times’ publisher News International.
The company reached an out-of-court settlement understood to have cost around £600,000 in 2006 over an article linking Armstrong with allegations of doping.
The paper recently confirmed that it had issued proceedings against Armstrong over his libel action.
The Sunday Times is demanding a return of the settlement payment plus interest, as well as its costs in defending the case, with the total claim likely to exceed £1m.
A letter sent to Armstrong’s lawyers stated: “It is clear that the proceedings were baseless and fraudulent. Your representations that you had never taken performance enhancing drugs were deliberately false.”