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Retired judge Otton to lead investigation into UCI

(Reuters) - Former Court of Appeal judge Philip Otton will chair the three-member commission set up to investigate allegations made against the International Cycling Union (UCI) over the Lance Armstrong doping scandal, the UCI said on Friday.

The retired judge, who has dealt with Formula One disputes at the International Court of Appeal, will work with Britain's 11-times Paralympic champion Tanni Grey-Thompson and Australian lawyer Malcolm Holmes.

The UCI said last month it would set up an independent commission to address issues and allegations which arose during the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) investigation into Armstrong and the U.S. Postal Team.

The commission, assembled by the International Court of Arbitration for Sport president John Coates, will be independent from any other sports body, the UCI said.

"The appointment of these three eminent figures demonstrates clearly that the UCI wants to get to the bottom of the Lance Armstrong affair and put cycling back on the right track," UCI president Pat McQuaid said in a statement.

"As I have said previously, the Commission's report and recommendations are critical to restoring confidence in the sport of cycling and in the UCI as its governing body," he added.

"We will co-operate fully with the Commission and provide them with whatever they need to conduct their enquiry and we urge all other interested stakeholders to do the same. We will listen to and act on the Commission's recommendations."

The commission is to hold a hearing in London in April and will submit its report to the UCI by June 1, 2013 or shortly afterwards.

In the coming two weeks, the UCI will also announce details of a stakeholder consultation to look at the future of cycling and discuss how to bring in lasting improvements, as well as to tackle other issues of concern, the governing body said.

Armstrong was stripped of his seven Tour de France titles and banned for life after USADA concluded the now-retired rider had been involved in the "most sophisticated, professionalized and successful doping program that sport has ever seen."

The USADA report said the 41-year-old American told his then team mates Floyd Landis and Tyler Hamilton he made a positive drugs test go away with a payment to the UCI in 2001.

The UCI acknowledged they received a $100,000 donation in 2002 but have denied the money was part of a covering up of a positive test.

Armstrong, who has always denied using performance-enhancing drugs, chose not to contest the USADA charges.

(Writing by Gregory Blachier in Paris; Editing by Alison Wildey)

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