An independent panel will examine possible links between cycling's governing body and the Lance Armstrong doping case.

The three-member panel will meet in London from April 9-26, with a June 1 deadline to deliver its report.

'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

The group consists of retired British judge Philip Otton, Australian lawyer Malcolm Holmes and former Paralympics star Tanni Grey-Thompson.

John Coates, president of the Court of Arbitration for Sport, was key in establishing the panel. The International Cycling Union had no say as to who would serve.

"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. "We will listen to and act on the Commission's recommendations."

Otton's sports legal cases include a Premier League relegation dispute involve Carlos Tevez, and Chelsea's tactics in trying to lure Ashley Cole from Arsenal. Grey-Thompson, a 10-time Paralympic gold medalist in wheelchair racing, is now a lawmaker in the upper chamber of Britain's Parliament.

The cycling body said the three will have access to "all relevant documents in the control or possession of the UCI," including bank and telephone records and laboratory test results.

Press for changes

The announcement came two days before a group of the UCI's and Armstrong's fiercest critics, including three-time Tour de France winner Greg LeMond, meets in London to press for changes in how cycling is run.

The UCI asked Coates last month to help create a panel to investigate suspicions raised by the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency's damning report into widespread doping by Armstrong's teams during his record seven Tour wins from 1999-2005.

Armstrong to lose Olympic medal?

His seven Tour de France titles erased from cycling's record books, Lance Armstrong still holds claim to one piece of sports silverware: an Olympic medal.

But for how much longer?

Twelve years after Armstrong won bronze in the road time trial at the 2000 Sydney Olympics, the IOC wants the medal back because of his involvement in a wide-reaching doping scandal.

The fate of Armstrong's medal will be addressed when the International Olympic Committee executive board meets next week in Lausanne, Switzerland.

The board could decide to strip the medal then and there, or wait another few weeks until cycling's governing body has officially notified Armstrong of the loss of his Tour titles.

The World Anti-Doping Agency and International Cycling Union ( UCI) have annulled all of Armstrong's results since Aug. 1, 1998.

The IOC has an eight-year statute for changing Olympic results, but officials believe the decision by USADA and the cycling body to go back 14 years to disqualify Armstrong should clear the way for them to reach back to 2000.

"I would hope we can deal with it because the evidence [against Armstrong] is overwhelming," Australian IOC executive board member John Coates told The Australian newspaper. "USADA and the UCI went outside the eight-year limit on the basis that the statute simply doesn't apply if you have broken the law, so I imagine our lawyer will see if that applies with us."

— The Associated Press

Armstrong was stripped of seven Tour de France titles and banned for life.

The panel's work could be key in determining whether the governing body can rebuild its damaged credibility. The commission will scrutinize McQuaid, who was elected as UCI president weeks after Armstrong first retired in 2005, and his predecessor, Hein Verbruggen, in their relations with Armstrong.

Suspicious samples

The governing body denies claims made by former Armstrong teammates to USADA that it covered up suspicious samples from Armstrong in exchange for payments totaling $125,000, or that the American rider enjoyed special protection.

"The Commission's report and recommendations are critical to restoring confidence in the sport of cycling and in the UCI as its governing body," McQuaid said. "We will co-operate fully with the Commission and provide them with whatever they need to conduct their inquiry and we urge all other interested stakeholders to do the same."

The UCI pledged to fund the commission's work and will be legally represented at the London hearings. It did not specify if sessions will be public.

McQuaid said the cost of the commission will be a "significant burden" on his organization.

"However, it is clear that only such a decisive and transparent examination of the past will answer our critics by thoroughly examining our assertion that the UCI's anti-doping procedures are and have been among the most innovative and stringent in sport," he said.

The panel will examine whether the UCI's doping rules were "inadequate or were not enforced with sufficient rigor"; if the UCI had "any reliable evidence or information" that Armstrong was doping; and if it "adequately cooperated with, assisted in and reacted to the USADA" investigation.

A potential conflict of interest between the UCI's role promoting the sport and its duty to police doping will also be examined.

Following the USADA report, LeMond denounced McQuaid and Verbruggen as "the corrupt part of the sport" and called on them to leave the UCI.

LeMond, now the only American winner of cycling's biggest prize, will be joined in London by journalists Paul Kimmage and David Walsh and Australian anti-doping scientist Michael Ashenden, who helped the UCI develop its biological passport anti-doping project.

Under the "Change Cycling Now" banner, the group will meet over two days.