By Emily Goddard

David Howman has said WADA will now examine the Cycling Independent Reform Commission report observations "in greater detail" ©Getty ImagesDavid Howman, the director general of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), has commended the Cycling Independent Reform Commission (CIRC) for its report, which his organisation will now "examine in greater detail" as it works to support clean athletes.

He said WADA will specifically examine the UCI's past failures to apply Therapeutic Use Exemptions effectively, while addressing the need to enhance the process for allocating research funds, as well as working with the UCI to advance its own information gathering techniques to end doping in cycling.

"The report makes serious allegations that riders made payments to officials in order to avoid testing and/or analysis - a so called 'anti-doping tax'," Howman explained.

"WADA is certain that the UCI will address these matters as soon as practicable; and, we will work closely and cooperatively with the UCI to implement the necessary changes.

"The report also makes it clear that, under its previous leadership, the UCI prioritised the protection of the heroic image of cycling and of its star athletes such as Lance Armstrong, ahead of the protection of clean cyclists and the promotion of clean sport.

"At the time, the UCI leadership did not hesitate to deliberately conceal the truth and attack those who raised concern about doping within their sport, including WADA.

"WADA invested a great deal of time and resources defending itself against what have now been proven to be completely unfounded and unjustified attacks by the then UCI leadership."

Lance Armstrong welcomed the damning investigative report ©Getty ImagesLance Armstrong welcomed the damning investigative report ©Getty Images

Howman also admitted WADA was "shocked" to read that the so called Vrijman Report, which the UCI had claimed to be independent, was in fact partially written with the assistance of Armstrong's legal team.

"This also raises questions over the ethics and values in place at the highest levels of UCI governance at the time," he added.

The damning 227-page CIRC report, published today, was the culmination of a 13-month investigation, independent from the UCI, into "the causes of the pattern of doping that developed within cycling and allegations that implicate the UCI and other governing bodies and officials over ineffective investigation of such practices".

It claimed that former UCI Presidents Hein Verbruggen and Pat McQuaid colluded with disgraced American cyclist Armstrong to help him avoid being caught for doping through his seven Tour de France victories in successive years from 1999 to 2005, among other serious allegations.

Current UCI President Brian Cookson admitted he has been shocked by the findings and said he will be calling on Verbruggen to step down from his role as Honorary President of cycling's world governing body.

Brian Cookson is asking Hein Verbruggen to consider his position as UCI Honorary President following the revelations ©Getty ImagesBrian Cookson is asking Hein Verbruggen to consider his position as UCI Honorary President following the revelations ©Getty Images

"I am very concerned by what I read in the report about Hein's actions and I will write to him asking him to consider his position as Honorary President," he added.

Meanwhile, Armstrong, who was stripped of his Tour de France titles in 2012 and is currently trying to overturn his life ban by the United States Anti-Doping Agency, has welcomed the CIRC report.

"I am grateful to CIRC for seeking the truth and allowing me to assist in that search," he said.

"I am deeply sorry for many things I have done.

"It is my hope that revealing the truth will lead to a bright, dope-free future for the sport I love, and will allow all young riders emerging from small towns throughout the world in years to come to chase their dreams without having to face the lose-lose choices that so many of my friends, team mates and opponents faced."

To read the full CIRC report click here.

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March 2015: Verbruggen and McQuaid accused by new UCI report of colluding with Armstrong to cover up doping