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Armstrong 'could still keep titles'
Mat Mackay, WWOS & AAP
12:00 AEST Mon Aug 27 2012

Lance Armstrong could still retain five of his seven Tour de France titles if he cooperates with anti-doping authorities.

The shock claim was made by the head of the United States Anti-Doping Authority (USADA), two days after it banned Armstrong for life from cycling's elite professional events and expunged his seven Tour de France titles because of "numerous anti-doping rule violations, including his involvement in trafficking and administering doping products to others."

While the statute of limitations for such charges is eight years, it can be extended in cases involving a cover-up.

But USADA head Travis Tygart said that if Armstrong is truthful, the statute would still likely be enforced, meaning he would have only be stripped of his 2004 and 2005 titles.

"Of course, this is still possible and we always remain open, because while the truth hurts, ultimately, from what we have seen in these types of cases, acknowledging the truth is the best way forward," Tygart said.

In his first interview since the US Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) disciplined him Armstrong said he was at peace.

"Nobody needs to cry for me. I'm going to be great," he said.

Still, his ego was bruised after being beaten by 16-year-old Keegan Swirbul at the Power of Four mountain bike race on Saturday.

Armstrong finished second, nearly five minutes behind the lanky teenager.

Soon after crossing the finish line and skidding to a stop, Armstrong chatted for a few minutes before saying, "OK, I'm going to go eat a cheeseburger."

He's leaning toward not following through with his plan to run a trail marathon on Sunday.