Governing body denies Armstrong coverup

GENEVA — The International Cycling Union "categorically rejects" Tyler Hamilton's allegations that it helped cover up a positive drug test by Lance Armstrong at the 2001 Tour de Suisse.

The UCI insisted Monday that it had "never altered or hidden the results of a positive test," and that the seven-time Tour de France winner had never been notified of a positive finding.

"The UCI is deeply shocked by the seriousness of the allegations made on the 60 Minutes program aired by U.S. television network CBS," the body said in a statement. "The allegations of Mr. Tyler Hamilton are completely unfounded."

Hamilton said in an interview that aired Sunday that his former teammate used the blood-boosting hormone EPO to prepare for his third Tour win in 2001.

Armstrong told him the UCI helped cover up a positive test at the Swiss warmup event, Hamilton said.

"The UCI can only express its indignation at this latest attempt to damage the image of cycling by a cyclist who has not hesitated to abuse the trust of all followers of cycling on several occasions in the past," the statement said.

Hamilton, who admitted to 60 Minutes that he doped during his career, twice tested positive for banned substances.

"At no time did he see fit to inform the UCI of the events he claims to have witnessed 10 years ago, and which he is now using in his attempt to harm the UCI," the cycling body said.

"The UCI can only confirm that Lance Armstrong has never been notified of a positive test result by any anti-doping laboratory. … Once again, the UCI wishes to state that no manipulation or coverup has occurred in respect of its anti-doping procedures."

The UCI said it reserves the right to take legal action against Hamilton.

If Armstrong hadn't been doping during his run of Tour de France victories, he might have been in the minority. Of the 70 top-10 finishers during his wins, 41 have tested positive for PEDs.

CBS's 60 Minutes also reported that UCI officials helped arrange a meeting involving Armstrong and the World Anti-Doping Agency-accredited laboratory at Lausanne, which tested the Swiss race samples.

The UCI and former president Hein Verbruggen, whose 14-year run in office ended in 2005, denied such a meeting took place. Verbruggen told the Associated Press that Armstrong's doping controls had never been hidden.

"There has never, ever been a coverup. Not in the Tour de Suisse, not in the Tour de France," the Dutch official said in a telephone interview. "I don't know anything about suspicious tests. I was not aware of that."

HOTEL raided: Police carried out a search at the RadioShack team hotel, Giro d'Italia director Angelo Zomegnan said.

The search was conducted by officers of Italy's elite NAS police unit during Monday's rest day, Zomegnan told the Associated Press. He had no other details.

It was unclear if the search was related to the ongoing investigation into Michele Ferrari, a banned Italian physician who was once Armstrong's training adviser.

CYCLIST KILLED: Spain's Xavier Tondo died in a freak accident after he was crushed between his car and a garage door in southern Spain, a Civil Guard spokesman said.

Tondo, 32, was killed while trying to take his car out of the garage in a residential complex outside Granada, spokesman Juan Carlos Lopez said.

He said the cyclist got out of the car to try to get the garage door to open but his car rolled forward and pinned him against the door. The official said another person was in the front passenger seat at the time.

Governing body denies Armstrong coverup 05/23/11 [Last modified: Monday, May 23, 2011 9:04pm]

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