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WADA appoints cycling doping expert to Russia project

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MONTREAL (AP) A former war crimes investigator who examined doping in the Lance Armstrong era of cycling will help rebuild Russia's discredited anti-doping program.

Peter Nicholson of Australia has started a two-year stint ''spearheading the project to redevelop'' the Russian body known as RUSADA, the World Anti-Doping Agency said Monday.

The Russian agency was shut down in November after a WADA-appointed inquiry alleged it was complicit in a state-backed doping conspiracy in track and field. Russia's drug-testing lab is also under suspension.

Nicholson was part of a three-member independent commission which last year delivered a report on systematic doping to the International Cycling Union.

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In the Russian project, Nicholson will be joined by Ieva Lukosiute-Stanikuniene, director of Lithuania's anti-doping agency and a Council of Europe official, as the agency seeks to regain its working status.

''Appointing the experts was a central part of the agreed `road map,' and it is a vital step forward in ensuring that athlete and public trust returns to the Russian anti-doping system and Russian sport,'' WADA President Craig Reedie said in a statement.

The experts' task includes ensuring the new RUSADA ''acts fully independently and without external interference,'' WADA said.

A third appointment sees another Council of Europe official, Sergey Khrychkov, join the RUSADA supervisory board.

The WADA decisions are separate from the IAAF's suspension of Russian track and field athletes from international competition. The IAAF council meets June 17 in Vienna, Austria, and should rule on whether to allow the Russians to compete at the Rio de Janeiro Olympics in August.