sport

UCI set for Armstrong response

International Cycling Union president Pat McQuaid will on Monday reveal the world governing body's response to the United States Anti-doping Agency's scathing Lance Armstrong report.

Armstrong refused to cooperate with USADA, who last week published a 1000-page report which concluded the Texan and his United States Postal Service team ran "the most sophisticated, professionalised and successful doping programme that sport has ever seen".

In accordance with the World Anti-doping Code, the UCI had 21 days to respond, until October 31, but now McQuaid will address the issue in Geneva, Switzerland on Monday.

"UCI President Mr Pat McQuaid will inform on the UCI position concerning the USADA decision on the Armstrong case," said a UCI statement to announce the media conference.

Armstrong announced he would not contest charges handed down by USADA in August.

USADA promptly stripped the 41-year-old of all results since August 1, 1998, including his record run of seven Tour de France triumphs from 1999 to 2005, and banned him for life.

USADA sent the UCI its reasoned decision last week and published an abbreviated 200-page version on its website, revealing the scale of the use of performance-enhancing drugs, much of the detail coming from testimony of 11 of Armstrong's former team-mates, who were given six-month bans.

The UCI will either accept the findings and punishments imposed, or reject them, likely taking the case to the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

After USADA's report was published the UCI said it would consider "issues of appeal and recognition, jurisdiction and statute of limitation" and "endeavour to provide a timely response".

This response is now scheduled to come nine days prior to the deadline.

McQuaid refused to be drawn on the matter at the Tour of Beijing earlier this month.

He said: "It would be wrong of me to pre-empt or second-guess what our lawyers are going to advise us about it, so that's as much as I want to say about it."

Armstrong has long protested his innocence, but has become more and more isolated in the days since USADA's report was made public.

On Wednesday he stepped down as chairman of his cancer charity, Livestrong, and lost the backing of key sponsors.

Nike, Trek and Anheuser-Busch, brewers of Budweiser, brought an end to their relationships with Armstrong, while Oakley are reviewing their position in the wake of the doping scandal which has transcended sport.

World Anti-doping Agency president John Fahey revealed his organisation would consider an across-sport doping amnesty in the wake of the Armstrong scandal, but it is cycling that is most acutely affected.

Rabobank withdrew from cycling after 17 years as a sponsor of the sport, while Team Sky, home of Tour de France winner Bradley Wiggins, have felt the need to reiterate their zero-tolerance approach to doping.