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USADA boss wants further investigation into Vrijman report

Cycling Union Blasted for Lance Armstrong Doping Cover-Up


PARIS (AP) -- The head of the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency promised further investigation Monday into a "sordid incident" of collusion between Lance Armstrong and cycling's governing body.

After it was reported in 2005 that Armstrong's Tour de France samples from 1999 showed traces of EPO, Dutch investigator Emile Vrijman was appointed by the UCI to investigate the handling of the urine tests by the French national anti-doping laboratory.

Vrijman cleared Armstrong, concluding that the tests were conducted improperly and fell short of scientific standards.

The Cycling Independent Reform Commission (CIRC) report published Monday said Armstrong's advisers and the UCI worked together in drafting the so-called "independent" report in order to "protect" the star rider.

"UCI, together with the Armstrong team, became directly and heavily involved in the drafting of the Vrijman report," the report said. "The main goal was to ensure that the report reflected UCI's and Lance Armstrong's personal conclusions.

"In the CIRC's view, based on an assessment of documents in its possession, UCI had no intention of pursuing an independent report; UCI's approach prioritized the fight against WADA and the protection of its star athlete."

USADA CEO Travis Tygart, who played a crucial role in Armstrong's downfall, said there should be a full investigation into how the Vrijman report was handled.

"USADA will work with the current UCI leadership to obtain the evidence of this sordid incident to ensure that all anti-doping rule violations related to this conduct are fully investigated and prosecuted, where possible," Tygart said in a statement.

Armstrong, who testified before the CIRC panel, is trying to overturn a life ban imposed by the USADA. He was stripped of his seven Tour titles from 1999-2005.

The CIRC report said the UCI specifically excluded from Vrijman's mandate an examination of the EPO test, meaning it would not try to find out whether Armstrong had used the substance.

The Vrijman report coincided with an agreement between Armstrong and the UCI that he would donate $100,000 for the purchase of a Sysmex blood testing machine. This prompted allegations that the donation was an indirect payment to help fund the report.

The CIRC did not find "any evidence to corroborate" those allegations but said the UCI acted improperly "in soliciting and accepting donations from an athlete" under increasing suspicion.

Vrijman was invited to speak to CIRC but did not testify.

The UCI and USADA were at odds until Brian Cookson replaced Pat McQuaid as cycling's governing body new president in 2013. The year before, the UCI challenged the USADA's jurisdiction in the Armstrong matter.

"The CIRC has also confirmed that during USADA's case against Armstrong in 2012, and under the direction of former UCI President Pat McQuaid, the UCI intentionally adopted an inaccurate position on its own anti-doping rules in order to try to derail USADA's case against Armstrong and his co-conspirators," Tygart said. "Here again, McQuaid's actions were intended to prevent the truth about Armstrong's doping and the UCI's complicity in it from being exposed."

Tygart said the report confirmed that for more than a decade the UCI treated riders and teams unequally, "allowing some to be above the rules."

"Sadly, the report confirms that greed, power, and profit - not truth - motivated UCI leaders and allowed the `EPO' and `blood doping' era to ride rampant," he said.

Tygart praised Cookson's reform efforts.

"Sport cannot effectively both promote and police itself, without the support of independent anti-doping organizations," Tygart said.

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17 PHOTOS
Lance Armstrong - updated 2/3/2015 - video in slide #2
See Gallery
USADA boss wants further investigation into Vrijman report
Lance Armstrong and the company that owned the U.S. Postal cycling team will have to pay a promotions company $10 million after losing an arbitration hearing.
ASPEN, CO - AUGUST 02: Anna Hansen Armstrong and Lance Armstrong attend Aspen Art Museum 2013 ArtCrush Summer Benefit at Aspen Art Museum on August 2, 2013 in Aspen, Colorado. (Photo by Leigh Vogel/WireImage)
ASPEN, CO - AUGUST 02: Lance Armstrong attends Aspen Art Museum 2013 ArtCrush Summer Benefit at Aspen Art Museum on August 2, 2013 in Aspen, Colorado. (Photo by Leigh Vogel/WireImage)
PERRY, IA - JULY 23: Lance Armstrong (L) departs at the start of the third day of the RAGBRAI en route to West Des Moines on July 23, 2013 in Perry, Iowa. (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)
AUSTIN, TX - JANUARY 14: In this handout photo provided by the Oprah Winfrey Network, Oprah Winfrey (not pictured) speaks with Lance Armstrong during an interview regarding the controversy surrounding his cycling career January 14, 2013 in Austin, Texas. Oprah Winfrey’s exclusive no-holds-barred interview with Lance Armstrong, 'Oprah and Lance Armstrong: The Worldwide Exclusive,' has expanded to air as a two-night event on OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network. The special episode of 'Oprah’s Next Chapter' will air Thursday, January 17 from 9-10:30 p.m. ET/PT (as previously announced) and Friday, January 18 at 9 p.m. ET/PT. The interview will be simultaneously streamed LIVE worldwide both nights on Oprah.com. (Photo by George Burns/Oprah Winfrey Network via Getty Images)
21 Jul 1995: Lance Armstrong of the United States performs during Stage 18 of the Tour De France between Montpon Men. and Limoges in France.
22 Jul 1995: Lance Armstrong of the United States performs during Stage 19 of the Tour De France near the Lac de Vassiviere in France.
13 Jul 1995: Lance Armstrong of the United States performs during Stage 11 of the Tour De France between B. d''Oisans and St. Etienne in France.
Lance Armstrong talks at Nike Sportswear and Lance Armstrong Launch 'Stages' Global Art Exhibition at Nike Sportswear at the Montalban Theater on March 7, 2009 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Brian To/FilmMagic)
HOLLYWOOD - MARCH 07: Athlete Lance Armstrong attends Nike Sportswear and Lance Armstrong's launch of 'Stages' Global Art Exhibition at Nike Sportswear at the Montalb n Theater on March 7, 2009 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Paul Redmond/WireImage)
25 Jul 2001: Lance Armstrong of the USA and the US Postal team on stage 16 of the Tour de France from Castelsarassin to Sarran in France. Mandatory credit: Pascal Rondeau/Allsport
30 Sep 2000: Lance Armstrong of the USA celebrates bronze in the Mens Road Cycling Individual Time Trial at Moore Park on day 15 of the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney, Australia. \ Mandatory Credit: Mike Powell /Allsport
17 Jul 2001: Lance Armstrong of the USA rides into a turn during the Tour de France from Aix-Les Bains to Alpe d''Huez in France.Mandatory Credit: Doug Pensinger /Allsport
LOS ANGELES - JANUARY 23: Lance Armstrong (L) of the United States Postal Service Cycling Team, and five time winner of the Tour de France, rides with former Olympian Dave Lettieri training during Media Day January 23, 2004 in the region around Solvang, California.(Photo by Robert Laberge/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES - JANUARY 23: Lance Armstrong of the United States Postal Service Cycling Team, and five time winner of the Tour de France, speaks during a press conference on media day January 23, 2004 in Solvang, California. (Photo by Robert Laberge/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES - JANUARY 23: Lance Armstrong of the United States Postal Service Cycling Team, and five time winner of the Tour de France, gets a tire change while training during Media Day January 23, 2004 in the region around Solvang, California. (Photo by Robert Laberge/Getty Images)
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