Sunday 29, Dec 2013
Posted By: admin
Hein Verbruggen, the former UCI President who is accused of covering up Lance Armstrong’s positive drug test, has revealed the “misery” he has suffered since the allegations emerged and said he had written to Armstrong seeking an apology.
Verbruggen argued that the accusations made by Lance Armstrong were designed for reducing the life ban imposed after he was stripped of his seven Tour de France titles. Last month, Armstrong claimed that the Dutchman had helped suppress news of his doping in 1999 and gave his consent to blame a positive test on a backdated prescription for a steroid cream to treat saddle sores.
Verbruggen said: “It’s a bullshit story and nothing else. Never, ever would I have had a conversation saying, ‘We have to take care of this’.
“It might very well be that he or somebody else from the team has given me a call and my first reaction was, ‘S—. We had this Festina problem and now this’. But that’s a very long way from concluding we have to do something about it.
“How can I take care of something that is known already by the laboratory, that is known already by the French Ministry [which conducted the test], that is known by the UCI, the anti-doping people at the UCI? It’s ridiculous.”
“I’m absolutely sure the next day it would be like this in the paper: ‘Doubts cast by Verbruggen on Armstrong’. That’s something I was not particularly keen on. I hadn’t said that about anybody, ever. Now they blame me — ‘You should’ve said that’. But I don’t think anybody would. You don’t. You can’t.”
Verbruggen however agreed with Lance Armstrong that he had been unfairly demonized. “Pat McQuaid [former UCI president] said about Lance Armstrong, ‘Lance has no place in cycling’. I would never have said that. We know now that at that time, yes, there were a lot of people on EPO and he was one of them. Nobody should single him out on that basis. He doped, it was forbidden, it’s cheating. But he was not the only one, that’s for sure.”
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