By Simon Evans
(Reuters) - The International Cycling Union (UCI) has said its dispute with the U.S. Anti Doping Agency over who should handle the Lance Armstrong doping allegations should be settled by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS).
Three former members of Armstrong's U.S. Postal Service (USPS) cycling team, including two medical staff and a team trainer, have been banned for life by USADA, who have served Armstrong with written notification of allegations against him.
Armstrong, who has retired from the sport after winning an unprecedented seven Tour de France titles, has been dogged by accusations of drug cheating for years despite never failing a doping test and always denying wrongdoing.
In an exchange of letters, released by a district court in Texas, the UCI urged USADA to halt its legal action, forward all case documents and allow an independent body to handle "results management".
USADA objected, saying the UCI had not previously objected to its jurisdiction over the case.
"USADA has authority under its rules and pursuant to the authority conferred upon USADA in USOC's (United States Olympic Committee) rules and in the rules of its members to prosecute Mr. Armstrong's anti-doping rule violations," wrote USADA general counsel William Bock in a letter to UCI president Patrick McQuaid on July 26.
The UCI, while saying it had authority over UCI tests, said it wanted the case to be handled by an independent body.
"However if USADA would not accept to entrust results management to an independent person or body then we suggest that USADA and UCI submit the issue of jurisdiction for results management to CAS," McQuaid wrote in a letter to Bock on Friday.
The dispute over who should handle the case has grown increasingly bitter with both sides accusing the other of lacking the necessary objectivity.
The UCI has said that USADA has "made the case one in which it cannot afford to lose its face".
The American body has said involving the UCI was out of the question.
"The UCI's public statements, prior conduct and myriad conflicts of interest foreclose any results management role for it," wrote Bock in a July 26 letter.
USADA said that instead of an independent panel for the Armstrong case, it wanted to see a body set up to examine the whole issue of drugs in cycling.
"What is needed is a Truth and Reconciliation Commission to clean up the sport of cycling once and for all...doping in cycling has been epidemic. Many of the same individuals who were involved in that epidemic are still entrenched in the sport," wrote Bock.
In comments to the New York Daily News on Friday, USADA CEO Travis Tygart went further.
"The USPS Doping Conspiracy was going on under the watch of UCI, so of course UCI and the participants in the conspiracy who cheated sport with dangerous performance enhancing drugs to win have a strong incentive to cover up what transpired,." he said.
Arguments are expected to be heard in the Armstrong case, in a "status conference", in a district court in Austin on August 10.
(Reporting By Simon Evans)
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