By Karolos Grohmann
LAUSANNE, Switzerland (Reuters) - Lance Armstrong will hold on to his 2000 Sydney Olympic bronze medal a little longer after the International Olympic Committee said it would wait for the international cycling union to inform him before moving to strip him of it.
The 41-year-old had his seven Tour de France victories nullified and was banned from cycling for life in October after the International Cycling Union (UCI) ratified the United States Anti-Doping Agency's (USADA) sanctions against him.
USADA published a report that said the now-retired rider had been involved in the "most sophisticated, professionalized and successful doping program that sport has ever seen."
The IOC decided after its Executive Board meeting it would wait for the UCI to inform the athlete and give him the right to appeal.
"The IOC today will not move because we need to have the situation whereby the UCI notifies officially Mr Armstrong of the fact that he will be disqualified and declared ineligible and that he should hand over his medal," IOC President Jacques Rogge told reporters.
"When he will be notified Mr Armstrong will have 21 days to launch an appeal. It is only after that period that the IOC can legally take action."
Armstrong, who won the medal in the individual time trial, has repeatedly denied doping and never tested positive for drugs.
His accusers, however, said Armstrong - one of the world's most famous athletes who also is well known for his cancer-fighting charity work - was not only a willing participant, but the ringleader, ordering team mates to cheat.
In addition to financial payments, emails and laboratory test results that the agency said proved the use of performance- enhancing drugs by Armstrong and the U.S. Postal Service team, 26 people gave sworn testimony, including 11 former team mates.
(Editing by Ed Osmond)