Lance Armstrong Cleared of Doping Charges

06/01/2006 at 08:35 AM EDT

Lance Armstrong Cleared of Doping Charges
Lance Armstrong
Kevin Mazur/Wireimage
Lance Armstrong has been cleared of doping charges stemming from the 1999 Tour de France, the Amsterdam-based International Cycling Union announced on Wednesday.

According to the Associated Press, the agency also accused France's World Anti-Doping Agency of misconduct in unfairly targeting Armstrong.

Armstrong, 34, who had called the investigation a "witch hunt," had repeatedly denied using banned substances. On Thursday, NBC News reported that Armstrong says he is "pleased" with the findings.

In its 132-page report, the International Cycling Union suggests considering "appropriate sanctions to remedy the violations" by the World Anti-Doping Agency, the AP reports.

In August 2005, the French sports daily L'Equipe reported that six of Armstrong's urine samples from 1999, when he won the first of his record seven-straight Tour de France titles, came back positive for the endurance-boosting hormone EPO when they were retested in 2004.

By October, the International Cycling Union had appointed Dutch lawyer Emile Vrijman to investigate. Vrijman said Wednesday his report "exonerates Lance Armstrong completely with respect to alleged use of doping in the 1999 Tour de France."

Armstrong, a cancer survivor, retired from professional cycling after his 2005 Tour de France win. On July 16, he will host the 14th annual ESPY Awards, benefiting the V Foundation for Cancer Research and the Lance Armstrong Foundation.

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