‘UCI accepted money from lance Armstrong, accused us of witch-hunt’

A day after Lance Armstrong was stripped of his seven Tour de France titles and banned for life, the war of words between the International Cycling Union (UCI) and the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) escalated.

Though Armstrong's exposure as a drug cheat was effectively sealed when the UCI on Monday ratified USADA's sanctions against the American, the two bodies have been quick to hurl accusations and critiques at one another.

UCI president Pat McQuaid conceded cycling was in crisis at a news conference on Monday, but he has since called into question USADA's evidence and methods while raising grounds for a possible appeal by Armstrong.

In a decision document posted on UCI's website and signed by McQuaid, USADA's report was said to have included animated or overstated language as well as incorrect and incomplete statements.

"It would have been better that the evidence collected by USADA had been assessed by a neutral body or person who was not involved in collecting the evidence and prosecuting the defendant," the document said. "This would have avoided both the criticism of (a) witch hunt against Mr Armstrong and the criticism that the UCI had a conflict of interest."

USADA chief executive Travis Tygart, who on Monday had called for a full and independent investigation into professional cycling, has since heaped further blame on UCI. "The truth is Lance Armstrong, on their watch, pulled off the greatest heist sport has ever seen," Tygart said in an e-mail to the Guardian newspaper. "Instead of attempting to explain or justify their inadequacies, the UCI should acknowledge their responsibility and failures and find ways to make it right."

In response to UCI's suggestion that USADA should have handed over its case file for an independent body to open disciplinary proceedings, Tygart said: "We set forth our position on why they were conflicted in this case on many different grounds.

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