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Cookson to ask Verbruggen to step down as honorary president of the UCI

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UCI president Hein Verbruggen with Lance Armstrong in 2002

UCI president Hein Verbruggen with Lance Armstrong in 2002
(Image credit: AFP Photo)
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Former UCI president Hein Verbruggen is at the Tour of Oman.

Former UCI president Hein Verbruggen is at the Tour of Oman.
(Image credit: Stephen Farrand)
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Hein Verbruggen and Lance Armstrong

Hein Verbruggen and Lance Armstrong
(Image credit: AFP Photo)
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Hein Verbruggen

Hein Verbruggen
(Image credit: Mark Gunter)

Following the release of the CIRC report into the history of doping in cycling on Monday, UCI president Brian Cookson intends to ask Hein Verbruggen to step down from his position as honorary president of the sport's governing body. Cookson told The Guardian, that Verbruggen’s collusion with Lance Armstrong during his time as president at the UCI from 1991-2005 was “unforgivable”.

“I am very concerned by what I read in the report about Hein’s actions and I will write to him asking him to consider his position as honorary president,” he told The Guardian, adding that Verbruggen had made “serious errors of judgment and wrong decisions”.

Cookson went on to say that he was shocked by the extent of collusion between the UCI's Verbruggen and Armstrong with regard to the 2005 Vrijman Report, an investigation into the French Anti-doping Agency’s (AFLD) handling of urine samples and tests following the 1999 Tour de France where Armstrong’s samples showed traces of EPO. The UCI appointed Dutch lawyer Emile Vrijim to head the investigation. The report exonerated Armstrong and said that the AFLD’s tests weren’t conducted properly.

“It is clear that the UCI never intended it to be fully independent, it’s clear that Lance Armstrong’s lawyers wrote large sections and it’s clear the UCI was complicit,” Cookson said. “It was wrong, and it should have been clear from the start it was wrong. It was a major error of judgment and it was unforgivable.”