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Cyclist Lance Armstrong Cleared of Doping Charges

Independent Dutch investigators have cleared seven-time Tour de France cycling champion Lance Armstrong of the United States of doping in the 1999 race, and have blamed anti-doping officials for misconduct in the case.

In a 132-page report, the Dutch investigators recommended convening a tribunal to discuss possible legal and ethical violations by the World Anti-Doping Agency in the case.

The International Cycling Union had appointed Dutch lawyer Emile Vrijman to investigate a French laboratory's handling of Armstrong's urine tests from the 1999 Tour.

Vrijman said his report "exonerates Armstrong completely." The cyclist has never tested positive for drugs and has vehemently denied using performance-enhancing substances.

Last year, the French newspaper L'Equipe had accused Armstrong of using the banned endurance-booster EPO in 1999. L'Equipe based its story on alleged analyses of Armstrong's samples.

The International Cycling Union and the World Anti Doping Agency have criticized Vrijman for making his report public before they had a chance to read it.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.