UCI investigator promises independence

Emile Vrijman, the Dutch lawyer appointed by the UCI to investigate l'Equipe's allegations that Lance Armstrong used banned performance-enhancer EPO in the 1999 Tour de France, says his investigation will be completely impartial.

"In no way will [the UCI] be able to read the report in advance or influence its results," Vrijman said in an Associated Press report. "I have a free hand to conduct the investigation."

Vrijman said that his investigation will cover the accuracy of the test results from the French anti-doping lab at Châtenay-Malabry and how they were made public. Alleged EPO positives from Lance Armstrong and other riders in the 1999 Tour de France came to light during the lab's research into ways of improving the urine test for EPO which has been found to return false positives in certain circumstances.

"We're gathering our file of information together and assembling additional experts, and we expect to release a timetable for our investigation by the end of the week," said Vrijman.

The case has led to strongly worded exchanges between the UCI and the World Anti-doping Agency, WADA as WADA chief Dick Pound has accused the UCI of leaking documents identifying the riders while the UCI has claimed WADA was blocking its investigation into the affair.

Vrijman believes it's in WADA's interest to co-operate with his investigation.

"I think it's in the interest of other sports that we look at this issue of retrospective research and make sure that it's dealt with within the rules," he told The Associated Press. "We also need to draw some conclusions about how we will deal with this issue in the future."

He added that all his findings would be made public but said that investigators wouldn't comment until their report is complete.

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.

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