Hein Verbruggen denies claim he helped Lance Armstrong cover up a positive test
Hein Verbruggen has dismissed Lance Armstrong's claim that he helped to cover up a positive test.
Last Updated: 14/01/14 2:13pm
Armstrong claimed last month that the former president of the sport's governing body, the International Cycling Union (UCI), was involved in hiding a positive test for a corticosteroid found in a cream for saddle sores in 1999, the year the American won his first of seven Tour de France titles.
Armstrong has since admitted backdating a prescription to give himself an exemption, telling the Daily Mail: "Hein just said, 'This is a real problem for me. This is the knockout punch for our sport, the year after Festina, so we've got to come up with something.' So we backdated the prescription."
Verbruggen, who was president from 1991 to 2005, denied Armstrong's claim at the time, saying the incident was outside of the jurisdiction of the UCI and adding: "There was nothing to cover up."
The Dutchman expanded on his denial in an interview with the Daily Telegraph, saying: "It's a bull**** story and nothing else. Never, ever would I have had a conversation saying, 'We have to take care of this'.
"It may very well be that he or somebody else from the team has given me a call and my first reaction was, 'S***. We had this Festina problem and now this'. But that's a very long way to concluding we have to do something about it.
"How can I take care of something that is known already by the laboratory, that is known already by the French Ministry [which conducted the test], that is known by the UCI, the anti-doping people at the UCI? It's ridiculous."
"You will never, ever find any cover-up in the UCI while I was president, and I'm sure afterwards neither."
Verbruggen accused Armstrong of having "his own agenda", adding that with the 42-year-old there is "always an interest also in money".
Verbruggen is still an International Olympic Committee member. However, he said he was ready to exit sport for good as he was "fed up".
"My reputation has suffered," Verbruggen said. "But I don't care very much about it. Lance, he's an icon. I'm not. Who knows me? Only people in sport."
Armstrong was banned from cycling for life and stripped of his Tour de France titles last year.