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Hein Verbruggen and Lance Armstrong
Unclear if evidence will be given to CIRC
Lance Armstrong’s former soigneur Emma O’Reilly claims to have evidence of the UCI’s complicity in the former rider’s evasion of anti-doping.
According to a report published on the Mail Online, O’Reilly is said to have heard Armstrong talking to ex-UCI president Hein Verbruggen.
“We were in the team car at the end of the race,’ O’Reilly told the newspaper. The race in question was the Rheinland-Pfalz Rundfahrt in 1998, where the American had just won the overall classification.
“I was about to drive Lance and one of the other riders to the airport. Lance called Hein and said words to the effect of, “That race commissar, I never want to see that guy again”.
“And he was being serious,” O’Reilly continued. “And you could sense that Hein was taking it seriously, too. It wasn’t a friendly chat. It was a serious conversation, and the impression I got was that Lance was being listened to. I said there’s no way you should be able to do that.”
After discussing it with Armstrong himself, O’Reilly confirmed that “Lance remembers the incident just as I do.”
O’Reilly also claims that former US Postal Johan Bruyneel received a tip off regarding an issue with a sample given by Armstrong. According to the report, the phone call to Bruyneel was made using a mobile belonging to one of the Texan’s teammates.
The former soigneur has previously made statements regarding Armstrong’s relationship with the UCI and it’s president. O’Reilly was present when the team discussed getting a backdated prescription, after he had tested positive for cortisone.
Verbruggen admitted to the Associated Press, last November that he may have discussed the positive with Armstrong. However, he has always strenuously denied having an improper relationship with the rider.
Currently, the UCI are funding a CHF3 million commission into uncovering cycling’s doping past. On Tuesday they issued a call for anyone with information to come forward. It is unclear if O’Reilly will discuss incidents such as these with the Cycling Independent Reform Commission.