The Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) responded this evening after it received a large pool of evidence backing the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) investigation that concluded that Lance Armstrong doped.
The agency ruled in August that he cheated throughout much of his career, including on his way to seven Tour de France wins, and today, made the supporting documents public.
In a statement, the governing body said, "The UCI will examine all information received in order to consider issues of appeal and recognition, jurisdiction and statute of limitation, within the term of appeal of 21 days, as required by the World Anti-Doping Code."
The Switzerland-based body may decide to appeal to the sport's high court, the CAS.
The federation's lawyers will have to sift through pages of evidence collected the US agency since the ball got rolling with Floyd Landis' confession in April 2010. In today's 202-page "Reasoned Decision" document, the agency touched on everything from Michele Ferrari payments to avoiding doping positives, from perjury to witness intimidation.
The Reasoned Decision also dived into Armstrong's alleged positive EPO test at the 2001 Tour of Switzerland and an alleged cover-up, involving payments to the governing body.
In a section titled Armstrong's suspicious test for EPO at the 2001 Tour of Switzerland, the agency wrote, "Armstrong told both Tyler Hamilton and Floyd Landis that he had tested positive for EPO at the 2001 Tour of Switzerland and stated or implied that he had been able to make the EPO test result go away."
It wrote that Armstrong told Hamilton: "His people had been in touch with UCI, they were going to have a meeting and everything was going to be ok." It said Landis recalled Armstrong saying that, "He and [Johan] Bruyneel flew to the UCI headquarters and made a financial agreement to keep the positive test hidden."
The UCI, as late as last month, admitted Armstrong and Bruyneel visited and that Armstrong donated around $125,000. It said that it used the money for drug testing equipment and not tied to a cover-up.
USADA continued, "In any case, what is important for the case is that substantial parts of Mr Hamilton's and Mr Landis' recollections of Mr Armstrong's statements have been corroborated."
Further on it said that Dr Martial Saugy, Director at WADA-accredited anti-doping laboratory in Lausanne, Switzerland, confirmed that his lab detected a number of samples suspicious of EPO presence in the race. Saugy explained, "He was told by UCI's Medical Commission head that at least one of these samples belonged to Mr Armstrong, but that there was no way Mr Armstrong was using EPO."
The US agency asked the UCI to review Armstrong's test results from the race, but he would not allow it. The agency said his "refusal to provide consent ... is telling."
Former Armstrong team-mate Barry: Doping had become an epidemic problem
Hincapie admits to doping during career
USADA publishes details of Armstrong doping case file
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Gregor Brown is an experienced cycling journalist, based in Florence, Italy. He has covered races all over the world for over a decade - following the Giro, Tour de France, and every major race since 2006. His love of cycling began with freestyle and BMX, before the 1998 Tour de France led him to a deep appreciation of the road racing season.
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