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UCI suspends Zorzoli after Armstrong leak

The Union Cycliste Internationale has suspended the manager of its health department for leaking Lance Armstrong drug tests results. The results formed the basis of a newspaper article alleging that seven-time Tour de France champion was a drug cheat. Last August French sports daily L'Equipe carried a front page story headlined "Armstrong's Lie" suggesting the Texan had used the illegal blood booster EPO (erythropoeitin) during his first Tour win in 1999. L'Equipe said traces of EPO had been found on six different occasions in Armstrong's 1999 urine samples by

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By Agence France Presse

The Union Cycliste Internationale has suspended the manager of its health department for leaking Lance Armstrong drug tests results.

The results formed the basis of a newspaper article alleging that seven-time Tour de France champion was a drug cheat.

Last August French sports daily L’Equipe carried a front page story headlined “Armstrong’s Lie” suggesting the Texan had used the illegal blood booster EPO (erythropoeitin) during his first Tour win in 1999.

L’Equipe said traces of EPO had been found on six different occasions in Armstrong’s 1999 urine samples by France’s national doping testing laboratory of Chatenay-Malabry near Paris.

Now, in an embarrassing admission, the UCI said the medical officer was responsible for handing over those confidential test results to the L’Equipe journalist who wrote the article.

“Dr Zorzoli has asked hmiself to be suspended until this matter is cleared up,” said a high ranking UCI official.

“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,” the same source said.

Originally the sport’s governing body had said it had allowed him to hand over one dope test sheet because Armstrong had agreed to it.

But now it says that the doctor concerned in fact handed over 15 examples and knew that the angle of the article on Armstrong was to show that the Texan had never asked permission to take medication he required after suffering from cancer.

The UCI’s admission was triggered by information it had received from Dick Pound, president of the World Anti-Doping Agency, and had held an internal enquiry.