Verbruggen concedes possible '99 conversation with Armstrong

Hein Verbruggen

Hein Verbruggen (Image credit: Mark Gunter)

One day after calling Lance Armstrong's allegations that he helped cover up doping "illogical", former UCI president Hein Verbruggen has conceded that he may have had a conversation with Armstrong in 1999 about a doping control that showed evidence of cortisone.

"I might have told him that the UCI needs a prescription but I am sure that was handled by our anti-doping department, not me," Verbruggen told the Associated Press.

On Monday, Armstrong said in an interview with the Daily Mail that after he received the results of his doping control, he spoke with Verbruggen, who was concerned that the news would further damage the reputation of the sport left reeling from the prior year's Festina scandal, and suggested that something needed to be done to diffuse the situation.

As witnessed by soigneur Emma O'Reilly, the US Postal Service team doctors wrote a back-dated prescription for a topical cream which Armstrong then stated was responsible for the test results.

Verbruggen still maintains that the UCI's acceptance of this back-dated prescription was permitted under the rules at the time.

"According to our rules, it (the prescription) could be done afterwards," he stated.

However, the current rules for Therapeutic Use Exemptions state that substances must be declared before testing. Riders have been suspended for positive tests for substances for which they have legitimate but lapsed TUEs.

The question surrounding the 1999 exception for Armstrong is one of several subjects currently being looked into by a UCI commission under new president Brian Cookson, but Verbruggen is not concerned.

"I have never been afraid of any investigation commission," he said. "I will participate in everything and I will be never be found (guilty of) anything."

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