Verbruggen threatens UCI with lawsuit over doping report
PARIS (AP) Former UCI president Hein Verbruggen threatened legal action against cycling's governing body on Wednesday over its ''outrageously biased, misleading and frequently wrong'' investigation into the sport's doping past.
A 227-page report into cycling's doping culture stated in March that the UCI colluded with Lance Armstrong to cover up positive tests at the 1999 Tour de France, when Verbruggen was in charge of the organization.
Verbruggen fought back on Wednesday as he launched a website in which he published a detailed criticism of the Cycling Independent Reform Commission's report.
''I vehemently disagree with most of its contents, as well as its conclusions,'' said Verbruggen, after commissioning an analysis of the report. ''Based on this expert evaluation, the UCI has been informed that legal action is likely to follow.''
''The report is outrageously biased, misleading and frequently wrong,'' he said.
Verbruggen, who presided over the UCI from 1991-2005 and throughout Armstrong's seven-year Tour de France title run, was harshly criticized by the report for his handling of the Armstrong case.
The report established that the UCI covered up Armstrong's positive tests for corticosteroids during the 1999 Tour, allowing him to stay in the race after the American produced a backdated prescription. Verbruggen denies that he was aware that it was backdated.
The UCI-appointed investigation panel, however, dismissed claims that Armstrong reached an agreement with Verbruggen to pay the UCI $25,000 to cover up alleged positive tests for EPO at the 2001 Tour de Suisse. It also found no evidence that Armstrong's later $100,000 donation to the governing body was linked to discrediting French reports that his 1999 Tour samples later tested positive for EPO.
''Even this totally subjective CIRC had to conclude, be it probably with pain and regret, that it could find no evidence of concealment of doping samples or corruption,'' Verbruggen said on his website. "That was a pretty easy conclusion to reach, as there simply was no concealment or corruption. But for the rest ... the CIRC report is unfair, biased and incomplete in its methodology, in its substance and in its conclusions.''
Verbruggen, an IOC member from 1996-2008 and an honorary member since then, also accused the CIRC report of protecting former World Anti-Doping Agency president Dick Pound and ''to denigrate 15 years of hard work by many people who were devoted to the cause of cycling and to anti-doping.''
Verbruggen's successor as UCI president, Pat McQuaid, was also criticized by the report. McQuaid was defeated by current UCI boss Brian Cookson in the 2013 presidential election