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By Tim Maloney, European Editor UCI Honorary President and IOC point man for the 2008 Olympics, Hein...
By Tim Maloney, European Editor
UCI Honorary President and IOC point man for the 2008 Olympics, Hein Verbruggen, stepped out from the shadow of his patron, IOC president Jacques Rogge, to strike out again at Rogge's former IOC rival Dick Pound, head of the World Anti-Doping Agency.
Speaking to La Gazetta dello Sport on Saturday, Verbruggen pulled no punches when he said, "Dick Pound is a liar when he says that cycling isn't doing enough to fight doping. He never offers a clear picture of the situation. Dick has mentioned our meeting last April 12th. We had that meeting thanks to the intervention of (IOC President) Jacques Rogge."
Pound, who accused then-UCI president Hein Verbruggen of leaking documents about Lance Armstrong's 1999 Tour De France medical control tests to L'Equipe in The Guardian, had angered Verbruggen. "The codes to ascertain which athlete had been tested at the 1999 Tour De France were held by the UCI and the French Sports Ministry," said Verbruggen. "The UCI never circulated any photocopies with this information (as claimed by Pound), but WADA did intervene to circumvent the privacy rules that the same laboratory (Chatenay-Malabry) regarding the athlete's privacy and gave the lab this information for experimental tests. That is for sure."
Regarding Pound's allegations that the UCI doesn't perform enough surprise out of competition testing, Verbruggen scoffed at the Canadian lawyer's comments, saying, "Look, here's an example. Last year (2005), WADA performed 170 surprise out of competition tests and only caught one athlete, a really low percentage."
Verbruggen further defended the UCI's drug testing program, explaining that along with cross country skiing, cycling is the only federation that performs blood testing. "And did you know that it was the UCI that informed the Spanish authorities about the Fuentes lab? We brought up the problems with doping in Spain three years ago with Aznar's Minister of Sport and after that with Zapatero's Minister (Lissavetsky). That is where the doubts and suspicions started. It is clear that in certain cases of doping, only the civil authorities can do an efficient job against doping. Cycling is doing all that is possible. What can we do at the Tour if there is only one case of doping, and if it's just Landis? In closing, I just want to say that I believe in the fundamental role of WADA, but I'm only fighting the distortions of (Dick) Pound."