UCI president says the UCI covered up Armstrong’s positive dope test in 1999 Tour

Cookson says he will be writing to former president and vice-president of UCI Hein Verbruggen “asking him to consider his position.” Verbruggen still holds the position of honorary president of the organisation.

AIGLE, SWITZERLAND (MARCH 9, 2015)(REUTERS) – After the publication of the Independent Commission for Reform in Cycling’s report, Union Cyclisme International (UCI)president Brian Cookson said he would be writing to former UCI president Hein Verbruggen to ask him “to consider his position”.

Verbruggen was UCI president from 1991 to 2005.

The Independent Commission’s report investigated reports that Armstrong was issued a Therapeutic Use Exemption certificate after testing positive for steroids in the 1999 Tour.

The report said: “The UCI acted in breach of its own ADR in asking the riders’ entourages to provide a medical certificate after they tested positive when they had not declared the use of a substance on the doping control form. Further, when a medical certificate was produced for Lance Armstrong, it should have been obvious to UCI that the medical certificate provided by his doctor was backdated and solely provided to justify a posteriori the traces of triamcinolone found in the rider’s urine.

Therefore, disciplinary proceedings should have been opened by UCI against both Laurent Brochard and Lance Armstrong following their positive tests for prohibited substances on the basis that they did not declare the use of a medicine justifying that substance on their doping control form.”

Brian Cookson told Reuters Television, at UCI headquarters in Aigle: “In that tour Lance Armstrong had a positive test for cortisone which was covered up and assisted in covering up by the UCI. Now I believe that is a wrong judgement at that time. I think it was a demonstration that the UCI was always going to prioritise the image of the sport and the business of the sport over the integrity and the honesty of the sport, and that was a very bad signal which was given out at that time. Subsequently I think if we hadn’t had that decision I think we would be having a very different landscape in our sport at this moment.”

“I will be writing to Hein Verbruggen in the light of what we have seen in the report and I will be asking him to consider his position,” Cookson continued.

“There are some good things highlighted in the report,” Cookson said. “For instance it says that cycling’s recent activities have helped to lower the radar as it were and reduce the prevalence of doping in our sport very substantially to the point where it is possible to win races at the highest level in cycling without doping and there are some clear indications that that is the case. Equally though there are others who feel that there is still doping going on and I think that is probably true. I think there are always new methods and ways of people trying to evade the tests and reduce their impact. Having said that I do think that we are carrying out a whole range of testing precedures now. We are strengthening our intelligence, our investigative procedures. We are working with the national anti-doping agencies and WADA a lot more effectively and we will not cover up doping as was obviously the case in the past.”