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UCI president Hein Verbruggen with Lance Armstrong in 2002
Former UCI president lashes out at WADA, USADA
Hein Verbruggen, president of the UCI from 1991 through 2005 and an honorary member of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), has sent a letter to all 15 members of the IOC Executive Board in which the Dutchman denies the UCI covered up doping positives by Lance Armstrong, according to insidethegames.biz. Verbruggen also lashes out at anti-doping agencies such as WADA and USADA, wondering why there's no suspicion on their behalf regarding what Verbruggen calls a "flawed system" which failed to catch the doping activities of Armstrong and his US Postal teammates
Lance Armstrong's seven consecutive Tour de France victories, from 1999 through 2005, took place during Verbruggen's reign as UCI president. Following an investigation by the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA), Armstrong was stripped of all his Tour titles and banned for life from sports adhering to WADA code. Armstrong did not contest WADA's findings and later confessed on Oprah Winfrey's talk show to doping during all seven Tour victories.
"I have been frequently accused that during my UCI Presidency, my Federation would not have been too serious in its anti-doping policy and that - in particular the Armstrong case - the UCI and myself would have been involved in covering-up positive tests," wrote Verbruggen, as reported by insidethegames.biz.
"Cover-ups never took place. Not only this would never have been allowed, but also since the there simply was nothing to cover-up. Armstrong, nor his teammates ever tested positive."
Verbruggen, however, did admit that Armstrong tested positive for cortisone during the 1999 Tour de France, but brushed aside any hint of wrong-doing regarding the back-dated Therapeutic Use Exemption.
"There was a finding for cortisone in 1999 (a time when only the UCI was testing for corticosteroids) that was declared as negative also by the French AD [anti-doping]-authorities that conducted the test, since it was the result of the use of an (allowed) ointment," wrote Verbruggen, as reported by insidethegames.biz. "That case was made public immediately and the UCI issued a press release explaining how the case was resolved."
Testimony provided to USADA's investigation by Armstrong's US Postal teammates Floyd Landis and Tyler Hamilton stated that suspicious test results from Armstrong at the Tour de Suisse suggested EPO use, but Landis and Hamilton testified that Armstrong met with the lab and UCI and nothing further came of the test results. Armstrong denied meeting with the UCI and lab during his confession to Oprah Winfrey.
"There further was a suspicious test for EPO in 2001 but definitely NOT declared positive by the laboratory," stated Verbruggen in his letter.
In his letter, Verbruggen also calls into question WADA and USADA, wondering how the anti-doping agencies are free of suspicion.
"Any suspicion about USADA? About WADA?" Personally, and I am not the only ones, I find that there is a heavy responsibility of WADA since they 'force' the world of sport to spend some US$0.5 billion (some US$600,000 per sanctioned positive test!!) for the fight against doping, while declaring themselves that THEIR (!) whole system is totally flawed."