Cycling's ruling body (UCI) said on Monday that a member of its staff had provided a French sports daily with doping control forms signed by Lance Armstrong [Images] during the 1999 Tour de France [Images].
In August, L'Equipe daily, saying it had access to laboratory documents, reported that six of Armstrong's urine samples collected on the 1999 Tour showed "indisputable" traces of the illegal blood-boosting erythropoietin (EPO).
Armstrong, who retired last year after winning his seventh Tour, has denied ever taking performance-enhancing drugs. In October, the UCI appointed a Dutch lawyer to investigate the allegations.
The UCI has previously denied the forms on which the article was partly based had come from within the organisation.
On Monday, it said in a statement that a L'Equipe journalist had told the UCI in July he wanted to write an article about Armstrong "confirming that since his return to competition in 1999, he had never taken any medicine in relation with possible consequences of the cancer he had overcome".
With Armstrong's permission, the UCI said it showed the journalist doping control forms so he could "ascertain for himself that no such medication had been mentioned on the forms by Mr Armstrong".
The journalist was also provided with a copy of one form as an example. His article in August was about a report by an anti-doping laboratory near Paris based on research conducted on samples from the 1999 Tour, and six doping control forms signed by Armstrong.
At the time the UCI said that only a photocopy of one form had been provided to the journalist but, after being shown copies of the 15 forms signed by Armstrong in 1999 during the Turin Olympic Games, it launched an internal investigation.
"The internal investigation of the UCI has indeed resulted in the fact that the staff member concerned has now admitted that he must have given to (journalist) Mr. Ressiot a copy of all 15 forms, instead of just one," the UCI statement said.
"It is to be emphasised that this was done in the absolute conviction that Mr. Ressiot was indeed doing his inquiry for the purpose of writing an article proving that Mr. Armstrong never asked for an authorisation to use any drugs after he successfully fought his cancer."
"For its part UCI has immediately taken the appropriate internal measures."
|© Copyright 2008 Reuters Limited. All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution of Reuters content, including by framing or similar means, is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of Reuters. Reuters shall not be liable for any errors or delays in the content, or for any actions taken in reliance thereon.|