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Governing body sets up anti-doping helpline

PARIS (Reuters) - The International Cycling Union (UCI) has launched an anti-doping helpline for professional riders in the wake of the Lance Armstrong scandal, the world governing body said on Wednesday.

"The free helpline, which will take calls in English and French, is for all athletes in the UCI Registered Testing Pool as well as any professional cyclists taking part in UCI competitions," the UCI said in a statement.

"An outside organization has been mandated to handle the process to guarantee strict confidentiality. It guarantees that all calls can also be made anonymously at any time, and any day of the week, which is in line with the recommendation of the Association of Professional Cyclists (CPA).

"The calls will be recorded and, depending on their nature, forwarded to specialists in the legal, anti-doping and medical fields, who will decide what follow-up action should be taken."

According to U.S. media reports, Armstrong, who lost his record seven Tour de France titles for doping, has admitted to using performance-enhancing drugs in a television interview to be aired on Thursday and Friday.

(Reporting by Julien Pretot; Editing by John Mehaffey)