The UCI has admitted it was the source of leaked documents that provided evidence for French sports newspaper l'Equipe to accuse Lance Armstrong of using EPO in the 1999 Tour de France.
Last August l'Equipe claimed that research being conducted by the anti-doping laboratory at Chatenay-Malabry on stored urine samples from the 1999 Tour indicated EPO use. The documentation of these urine samples included code numbers designating the rider who supplied them. By obtaining doping control forms from the UCI, l'Equipe claimed it could prove six of the samples came from Lance Armstrong.
At the time, the UCI said it had showed l'Equipe journalist Damien Ressiot just one doping control form after Ressiot had requested access to the documentation, claiming he was trying to show that since returning to racing Armstrong had never taken any medicine in relation with possible consequences of the cancer he had overcome.
However, in a meeting between WADA chairman Dick Pound and UCI vice-president Hein Verbruggen at the Winter Olympics in Torino, Pound informed Verbruggen that WADA had obtained copies of all 15 doping control forms signed by Lance Armstrong during the 1999 Tour de France and that those copies originated from the UCI.
The organisation later revealed that Dr Mario Zorzoli had asked to stand aside while the investigation was underway. "Dr Zorzoli has asked himself to be suspended until this matter is cleared up," a high ranking UCI official told news agency AFP. "It's very annoying because he fulfils an important role and is appreciated by the teams and riders and is respected in scientific circles. He unfortunately under-estimated the risks one runs in this job."
Cyclingnews coverage of the L'Equipe allegations
June 27, 2006 - Carmichael defends Armstrong, Armstrong answers L'Equipe & LeMond
June 26, 2006 - LeMond: "Armstrong threatened my life"
June 19, 2006 - Armstrong calls for Pound's exit
June 18, 2006 - Lance Armstrong's open letter against Dick Pound
June 4, 2006 - UCI hits back at WADA
June 3, 2006 - WADA slams the Vrijman report
June 2, 2006 - L'Equipe stands by its story, UCI supports Vrijman's findings
June 1, 2006 - UCI, WADA and Armstrong react to Vrijman's report
May 31, 2006 - UCI lawyer asks for Armstrong's name to be cleared
May 14, 2006 - Two more weeks for Armstrong investigation
Click here for full coverage of the L'Equipe allegations.