UCI urges Armstrong to testify before its panel
AIGLE, Switzerland (AP) - The International Cycling Union urged Lance Armstrong on Tuesday to testify before its independent commission on doping to shed light on allegations that include whether the UCI helped cover up his use of performance-enhancing drugs.
Cycling's governing body said it was aware of media reports that Armstrong had confessed to doping during an interview with Oprah Winfrey on Monday.
"If these reports are true, we would strongly urge Lance Armstrong to testify to the Independent Commission established to investigate the allegations made against the UCI in the recent USADA reasoned decision on Lance Armstrong and the United States Postal Service (USPS) team,'' the federation said in a statement.
The UCI said it would not make any further comment until it has viewed the interview, which is to be broadcast on Thursday night.
The UCI set up an independent panel in November to investigate the Armstrong case and what role the governing body had in the scandal. The U.S. Anti-Doping Agency raised suspicions of UCI collusion with Armstrong in its report that led to the cyclist being stripped of his seven Tour de France titles and banned for life.
The UCI has been accused of covering up suspicious samples from Armstrong, accepting financial donations from him and helping him avoid detection in doping tests. Armstrong is reportedly considering testifying against UCI officials.
Former UCI President Hein Verbruggen said Tuesday he wasn't ready to speak about the Armstrong case.
"I haven't seen the interview. It's all guessing,'' Verbruggen told the AP. "After that, we have an independent commission which I am very confident will find out the truth of these things.''
The three-member commission is chaired by retired British judge Philip Otton. He is working alongside Australian lawyer Malcolm Holmes and Tanni Grey-Thompson, a 10-time Paralympic gold medalist in wheelchair racing who is now a lawmaker in the upper chamber of Britain's Parliament. The panel will meet in London from April 9-26, with a June 1 deadline to deliver its report.
The cycling body has said the three will have access to "all relevant documents in the control or possession of the UCI,'' including bank and telephone records and laboratory test results.