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Banning Armstrong just the start, says USADA

NEW YORK (Reuters) - The United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) has called for a full and independent investigation into doping in cycling in the wake of the Lance Armstrong scandal.

USADA, which banned Armstrong for life and stripped him of his seven Tour de France titles after saying it had exposed him as a drug cheat, welcomed Monday's announcement by the International Cycling Union (UCI) to uphold the penalties.

"Today, the UCI made the right decision in the Lance Armstrong case," USADA chief executive Travis Tygart said in a statement.

"Despite its prior opposition to USADA's investigation into doping on the U.S. Postal Service cycling team and within the sport, USADA is glad that the UCI finally reversed course in this case and has made the credible decision available to it."

But Tygart said the banning of Armstrong was not the end of the problem because USADA's investigation showed that doping was rife in professional cycling.

More than two dozen witnesses provided testimony in the case, with a handful of Armstrong's former team mates confessing to cheating themselves, but Tygart said that was just the tip of the iceberg.

"For cycling to truly move forward and for the world to know what went on in cycling, it is essential that an independent and meaningful Truth and Reconciliation Commission be established so that the sport can fully unshackle itself from the past," he said.

"There are many more details of doping that are hidden, many more doping doctors, and corrupt team directors and the omerta has not yet been fully broken.

"It is important to remember that while today is a historic day for clean sport, it does not mean clean sport is guaranteed for tomorrow."

(Reporting by Julian Linden; Editing by Mark Meadows)

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