11/18/2012 03:07 EST | Updated 01/18/2013 05:12 EST

Armstrong case offers clues for larger fight against doping, world agency says

MONTREAL - The World Anti-Doping Agency is hoping to learn from the groundbreaking case against Lance Armstrong as it tries to crack down on performance-enhancing drugs in sports.

WADA president John Fahey said the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency's evidence against Armstrong demonstrates the importance of conducting a thorough investigation, rather than relying solely on laboratory testing.

"It's quite clear that (testing) is only one element in the work that must be done," Fahey said in an interview Sunday following a WADA meeting in Montreal, where the agency is headquartered.

"We need to focus on who should be tested, look at sports where certain types of testing will be more successful, collect information and cross-reference it."

The U.S. Anti-Doping Agency ordered Armstrong banned from cycling for life and stripped of his seven Tour de France victories after he was accused of helping run the most sophisticated doping program in sports. The decision was later ratified by the International Cycling Union.

Fahey said the ruling helped bring attention to a major problem in sports, but that much more remains to be done.

"The problem hasn't been solved," he said.

"We've got a continuing fight that probably may go on for a long, long time, if not indefinitely."

At its Montreal meeting, the agency proposed new, stronger sanctions against those found guilty of using banned performance-enhancing drugs.

It wants to introduce a four-year ban on competition for some doping infractions, up from the current two years. The increase would ensure the athlete misses the next Olympic Games, said WADA director general David Howman.

A final decision on a new anti-doping code will be made in 2015.

Even if the fight against doping is far from over, Howman said the Armstrong case has helped return the issue to the spotlight.

"I think because people are so shocked by the revelation that a super star hero has fallen so low so quickly, particularly one who was prominent in raising funds for cancer research, people now realize that they can be fooled and were fooled in a shocking way," he said.

"That helps us to say this is a big issue that has to be confronted."