Armstrong backed by UCI, Ekimov over doping claims

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LONDON (AP) -- In the wake of fresh doping allegations against Lance Armstrong, cycling's world governing body and one of his former teammates have come to the defense of the seven-time Tour de France champion.

Tyler Hamilton, another ex-teammate of Armstrong, alleges the American was involved in a systematic doping program with the U.S. Postal team to win the 1999, 2000 and 2001 Tours.

However, team rider Viatcheslav Ekimov says he never saw Armstrong do any of the things Hamilton described.

Also Monday, the International Cycling Union denied claims it helped cover up a positive sample submitted by Armstrong at the Tour de Suisse in 2001.

The UCI was responding to accusations made by Hamilton that it helped Armstrong to make the incident "go away."