When Lance Armstrong retires at the end of the Tour de France, he will leave behind an impressive legacy as a cyclist, with his six (or seven) Tour de France victories at the top of the list. He will also be well known for his work in the cancer community, exemplified by the millions of LiveStrong wristbands that he has sold to raise money for cancer research. A more infrequently reported fact, although one that is by no means a secret, is that he has helped the UCI over the years in its fight against doping, by donating money to the cause. "I am a huge advocate of WADA, USADA, drug controls, random controls, out of competition controls," said Armstrong in an interview with Cyclingnews last year. "I have donated money to the UCI over the years to increase [drug controls]."
Dutch TV 2 aired a program on Lance Armstrong on Thursday evening hosted by Mart Smeets, who interviewed Hein Verbruggen, who confirmed that Armstrong sponsors UCI anti-doping investigations. One of the last things he did was to pay for the UCI's new Sysmex blood testing machine, which measures the proportion of haemoglobin and reticulocytes in a rider's blood to determine whether they have been artificially manipulating their red cells.
"I know Lance didn't want me to talk about this, but now he his career is coming to an end I said to him that I should make it public," said Verbruggen. "He didn't like that, but I think everybody has to know it."
Lance is the most tested rider in the peloton. "Journalists said Lance used a lot of medicines after his cancer, and that he should have a long list with legal drugs. But he has nothing on a list," Verbruggen noted, also taking offense to any suggestion that the UCI would turn a blind eye if Armstrong ever tested positive. When a journalist asked him about this yesterday, Verbruggen told AD that he responded, "'Get the hell out of here, idiot!', I told him. Luckily I could restrain myself a bit, otherwise I would really let fly. I'm not good with such people. This initiative deserves nothing but praise and respect."
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