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Hein Verbruggen passed the ProTour to McQuaid
Former UCI president will not comment on specific allegations
Former UCI president Hein Verbruggen has declined to comment on allegations made against him in a dossier commissioned by Russian Cycling Federation president Igor Makarov and others, saying that he did not feel it ought to be taken seriously.
A summary of the dossier was leaked to the press last week, and it accused both Verbruggen and his successor Pat McQuaid of corruption. The document alleges that Verbruggen and McQuaid solicited a bribe of €250,000 from an unnamed team owner in 2012.
The dossier also alleges that Verbruggen allowed Lance Armstrong’s legal team to edit and write parts of the Vrijman report, a supposedly independent review into how Armstrong’s urine samples from the 1999 Tour de France were retrospectively found to be positive for EPO in 2005.
Speaking to Cyclingnews on Wednesday, Verbruggen indicated that he would not be taking legal action to defend himself against the accusations outlined in the document and he explained why he has not commented publicly on the matter.
“I think if I commented, it would mean that I thought it was serious,” Verbruggen said. “But I already told a journalist colleague of yours from Great Britain that I don't think it's serious and I don't think you should take it seriously either."
For his part, McQuaid has robustly denied the allegations made against him in the dossier, describing them as “totally untrue and […] not supported by a scintilla of evidence.” McQuaid has also highlighted that Makarov is among those supporting rival candidate Brian Cookson in next week’s UCI presidential election.
Verbruggen and McQuaid have previously reacted litigiously to accusations of corruption. In January 2012, they opened defamation proceedings against both Floyd Landis and Paul Kimmage in response to allegations that the UCI had covered up a positive test from Lance Armstrong at the 2001 Tour de Suisse.
Last October, a Swiss court found in favour of Verbruggen and McQuaid, and ordered Landis to pay them the sum of 10,000 Swiss Francs each, a verdict Landis’ legal team described as “unenforceable.”
Shortly afterwards, Verbruggen and McQuaid suspended their case against Kimmage. The journalist’s subsequent appeal for a criminal investigation of Verbruggen and McQuaid has since been rejected by a Swiss court.