Lance Armstrong's lifetime ban should stick, Olympics president says

With sports officials gathered in South Africa for the World Conference on Doping in Sport, the head of the International Olympic Committee had a tough message for Lance Armstrong.

IOC President Thomas Bach said he does not think Armstrong's lifetime ban should be lessened, even if the disgraced cyclist cooperates with officials digging into cycling's troubled past.

"I would not feel comfortable with [reducing the ban] because it is too little, too late," Bach told the Associated Press. "It was not even a real admission."

The International Cycling Union (UCI) is considering the formation of an independent commission to examine the sport's history of doping and wants past racers to testify.

In recent days, Armstrong -- who was stripped of his seven Tour de France victories -- has said he feels he was punished more severely than other cyclists who used performance-enhancing drugs. There has been speculation that he would cooperate with the UCI in return for a reduction in his punishment.

Bach said: "Now trying to bargain a deal there after everything has been proven, and now that he realizes he doesn't just get off the hook -- this is not the best way, to lessen a sanction or to be lenient there in any way."

In other news from the conference, the World Anti-Doping Agency is expected to lengthen the standard suspension for doping violations from two years to four. Armstrong received a harsh penalty because of the scope and severity of his actions.

The agency also announced a new urine test that will offer more sophisticated detection of steroid levels in the body. Such testing has previously been done using blood samples.


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