The International Olympic Committee has postponed a decision on whether to strip Lance Armstrong of the bronze medal he won at the 2000 Sydney Olympics for legal reasons, president Jacques Rogge has announced.
At the IOC's executive board meeting in Lausanne this week, Rogge said the IOC were powerless to act as the International Cycling Federation are yet to formally notify Armstrong of their decision to annul all his results since August 1998.
Rogge said: "On the Armstrong case we will not move because we need to have the situation whereby the UCI officially notifies Mr Armstrong of the fact he will be disqualified and declared ineligible, and that he should hand over his medal.
"It is a legal obligation, not for the IOC but for the UCI. When he has been notified, Mr Armstrong will have 21 days in which to launch an appeal if he so wishes. It is only after that period of 21 days that the IOC can take action."
Following the US Anti-Doping Agency's report of widespread doping by Armstrong, the UCI agreed to strip Armstrong of his seven Tour de France titles and other race wins going back to 1998, and to ban him for life.
The issue could be further complicated by the IOC's own eight-year statute for changing Olympic results.
IOC lawyers believe the decision by USADA and the UCI to annul Armstrong's results over a 14-year period has set a legal precedent in their favour.
Rogge added it was not in the IOC's jurisdiction to re-allocate Armstrong's bronze medal should he be stripped. It is likely the third place would be left vacant in Olympic records, rather than allocated to the fourth-placed rider, Olano Manzano of Spain.