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Verbruggen denies responsibility for cycling's problems

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Hein Verbruggen passed the ProTour to McQuaid

Hein Verbruggen passed the ProTour to McQuaid (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Hein Verbruggen

Hein Verbruggen (Image credit: Mark Gunter)
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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)

Former UCI President Hein Verbruggen has again denied any responsibility for the doping scandals that have damaged professional cycling so much during his tenure as the head of the sport.

Verbruggen, 71, was UCI president from 1991 to 2005, during which period Armstrong won seven Tours de France. The Dutchman is still a honorary president of the UCI and the International Olympic Committee. He is now the president of SportAccord, the umbrella organisation that works with international federations with a range of services, including anti-doping.

Lance Armstrong had a close relationship with Verbruggen but the Texan is reportedly set to indict the UCI for its involvement with doping in cycling in his television interview to be broadcast Thursday.

Last May Verbruggen was quoted as saying “Lance Armstrong has never used doping. Never, never, never.” He later denied saying that, claiming instead that he meant that Armstrong had never tested positive.

Now he struggles to see how he and the UCI can be blamed for the doping scandals of the last 20 years.

“I don't understand the whole fuss at all,” Verbruggen said in an interview with the Dutch magazine De Muur. “If you test someone 215 times and he is always negative, then the problem is in the test itself. Well, I'm not responsible."

"It is easy to say, 'you knew it!' but nobody knew anything for sure. We only had suspicions (...) We did what we could only detect nothing we could. (...) I don't understand all this fuss at all (...) We knew as much as the journalists....”

Verbruggen was also at the UCI when Armstrong donated money to allegedly purchase drug testing equipment, an idea the Dutchman now accepts was a mistake. “In retrospect, I should not have taken the money,” he said.

He also attacked Tyler Hamilton, who exposed much about doping in cycling in his book “The Secret Race". 

“That liar is now the hero of the press,” Verbruggen said.