Lance armstrong spills the beans. The dethroned tour de france record winner has dragged cycling’s world governing body (uci) into the biggest doping scandal and heavily incriminated former uci boss hein verbruggen.
According to the american, the current uci honorary president helped cover up armstrong’s positive doping test in 1999. "Hein just said, ‘this is a real problem for me, this is the k.O.-blow to our sport – one year after festina. This is how we have to come up with something.So we backdated the prescription," armstrong said in an interview with the daily mail, referring to a positive test for cortisone at the 1999 tour de france.
Verbruggen, the longtime intimate of former ioc president jacques rogge, declined to comment on the case to cyclingnews and could not be reached for comment by dpa. In the past, the current uci honorary president had always denied having been involved in the cover-up of armstrong’s positive samples. He also wrote this to the national federations: "i have never acted inappropriately, my conscience is absolutely clean. I do not accept that my integrity is called into question."
Armstrong’s recent statements about his willingness to come clean about cycling’s doping past appear to be just the beginning of more juicy details about the past. In particular, the former tour dominator’s ominous cash donations to the uci totaling $125,000 from 2002 and 2005 could still have unpleasant consequences for the former uci leadership around verbruggen and his successor pat mcquaid, who was replaced by brian cookson in september. Armstrong’s ex-teammate floyd landis had once claimed that the superstar had made a positive epo test at the tour de suisse disappear through a "financial deal" with verbruggen.
Verbruggen should not expect armstrong to remain silent on this matter. "Don’t think i’m protecting these guys after they treated me in this way. I will not be loyal to them. I’m not going to lie to protect these guys. I hate them. They threw me under the bus," armstrong insisted. He will comment in the appropriate forum on all matters on which he is asked. New uci chief cookson expected to report to him soon. The briton, together with the world anti-doping agency wada, had set up a commission to investigate the doping era. The roles of verbruggen and mcquaid are also to be clarified in the process. Armstrong’s late opening apparently hopes to reduce his lifetime ban by means of the key witness rule. But wada had given the hobby triathlete little hope in this regard.
Uci welcomes armstrong’s willingness to cooperate. "The commission invites each and every individual to provide evidence. We call on all those involved to come forward and help the commission in the interests of cycling," the uci told dpa. The investigative commission is in the process of being set up and is in discussions with stakeholders to "allow a full investigation into the allegations of doping and misconduct by the uci.".
Armstrong was banned for life last year and stripped of all his tour victories. If the uci had acted according to the rules, the armstrong era would not have started in 1999. According to uci rules, he should have been banned even then. The texan rider had tested positive for cortisone four times during the tour. The uci had justified the non-sanctioning with the fact that armstrong had submitted a prescription for a sore ointment. On at least one control sheet, however, "neant" (nothing) is handwritten under the item "medicines used" – signed, among others, by the then us postal team boss johan bruyneel. This was reported by the french daily newspaper "le monde" in january of this year. Subsequent submission of medical certificates does not save the rider from a penalty according to article 43 of the 1999 uci regulations.
Armstrong’s former supervisor, emma o’reilly, had also reported on the fraud years ago and was then put under massive pressure by him. The "daily mail" brought the two together in miami. Armstrong was remorseful. His behavior was "inexcusable" and "embarrassing".