Amsterdam - Former UCI president Hein Verbruggen has questioned Lance
Armstrong's credibility after the American rider implicated the Dutchman
in covering up doping at the 1999 Tour de France.
"Since when do
people believe Lance Armstrong?" Verbruggen wrote in a text message to
NOS television network in the Netherlands. "Since he told Oprah Winfrey
he had never 'sorted out' anything with the UCI? Or since he (for
money!) makes films and gives interviews in which he apparently has to
serve up juicy details?"
The Dutch official has not replied to
messages from The Associated Press since Armstrong's allegations were
published on Monday by Britain's Daily Mail.
Verbruggen insisted "we've got to come up with something" to explain the
American's positive tests for a banned corticosteroid.
backdated prescription for a saddle sores cream was accepted, allowing
Armstrong to continue racing and win his first Tour, which revived
cycling after doping scandals wrecked the 1998 race.
"His story is
illogical because it was not about a positive/punishable act according
to the anti-doping authority involved," wrote Verbruggen, adding that
cycling's governing body did not have lead responsibility for
anti-doping at the race 14 years ago.
"That authority was not the
UCI but the French ministry. From accusations a year ago about
large-scale complicity of the UCI in doping by Lance Armstrong and his
team, we're now back to a cortisone case from 1999 that was not even
handled by the UCI," said the former president, who stepped down in 2005
after Armstrong's seventh straight Tour victory.
UCI honorary president and IOC honorary member, is a likely target
witness for an independent commission panel which the UCI is creating to
investigate claims of collusion to protect Armstrong from scrutiny.
The UCI and World Anti-Doping Agency said in Johannesburg last week that the panel could begin work early next year.
is expected to be the star witness and has suggested he wants a
reduction in his lifetime ban imposed last year by the U.S. Anti-Doping