Lance Armstrong says that International Cycling Union president Hein Verbruggen helped cover up the cyclist’s doping during the 1999 Tour de France.
The Associated Press reports that Armstrong told Great Britain’s Daily Mail that Verbruggen helped him cover up a positive test during his ’99 Tour win in an effort to save the sport from embarrassment:
“The real problem was, the sport was on life support,” Armstrong said in the article. “And Hein just said, ‘This is a real problem for me; this is the knockout punch for our sport … so we’ve got to come up with something.’”
Armstrong has previously admitted to covering up a failed drug test during the 1999 Tour de France by falsifying a prescription for corticosteroids, but he had never before implicated the UCI or Verbruggen.
Verbruggen is still listed by the UCI as an honorary president, but the cycling governing body has hired an outside investigator to look into collusion between those caught doping and top UCI executives. Armstrong has said he will cooperate fully with the investigation.
The IOC, where Verbuggen now serves as chairman of the Olympic Broadcasting Service, released a statement on Monday questioning the accusations:
anabolic steroids > banned substances > cheat > cycling > Don Hooton > doping > Taylor Hooton Foundation
“It is hard to give any credibility to the claims of a cyclist who appears to have misled the world for decades.”
“That said, the UCI is currently working on plans to investigate the matter more thoroughly and we await proper considered outcomes,”