Verbruggen says UCI likely to respond to USADA Armstrong report towards end of next week
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Thursday, October 18, 2012

Verbruggen says UCI likely to respond to USADA Armstrong report towards end of next week

by Shane Stokes at 9:17 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Doping
Dutchman denies saying there’s no evidence against Armstrong, journalists respond by printing SMS exchange

UCIFormer UCI president Hein Verbruggen has said that the governing body is likely to reply late next week to USADA’s reasoned decision, which listed extensive evidence against Lance Armstrong and the US Postal Service team.

Speaking to AP, he said that he would not comment further for now on the report or on the likelihood of an appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

The UCI and WADA both have the opportunity to either appeal or to validate USADA’s sanctions, which saw Armstrong hit with a lifetime ban and lose his results from August 1st 1998.

The Texan has been accused of using banned drugs in winning seven Tours de France plus other races, as well as encouraging and coercing team-mates to also take doping products. He denies the charges, but refused to fight them in arbitration.

Under pressure and with his name losing credibility as a result, he lost many of his big sponsors yesterday and also stood down as the chairman of the Livestrong foundation.

Meanwhile Verbruggen and De Telegraaf are at loggerheads today, with the former UCI president disputing an article where he is quoted as saying there is no evidence against Armstrong, and the Dutch newpaper insisting its quotes are accurate.

He has issued a press release via the UCI about it, while the paper has printed a SMS message exchange with the Dutchman in order to back up its version of events.

According to the article, Verbruggen appears to remain solidly behind Lance Armstrong, who he said last year had ‘never, never, never doped.’ De Telgraaaf contated Verbruggen in light of recent events, specifically USADA’s release of 1,000 pages of evidence against Armstrong and the US Postal Service team, plus an allegation by Greg LeMond’s wife Kathy that the Dutchman was bribed half a million dollars after the Texan tested positive in the 1999 Tour de France.

“Lance Armstrong has never been found positive, even by USADA., There is no trace of evidence," the newspaper quotes Verbruggen as saying.

As for LeMond’s comments about a payoff from US Postal Service team owner Thom Weisel and Nike to Verbruggen after Armstrong tested positive for Cortisone in the 1999 Tour, he was similarly dismissive.

"Mrs. LeMond's story is so absurd that it is not worth making an official statement.”

However soon after the story appeared, he issued a press release through the UCI which denied the quotes attributed to him.

“I vehemently protest against the article in De Telegraaf of Thursday morning by Raymond Kerckhoffs and Hans Ruggenberg. That article wrongly suggests that I would have stated that notwithstanding the USADA file there is no evidence against Lance Armstrong. I made no statement at all on this subject. The heading above the article is absolutely wrong and misleading.

“While giving the impression that it is about a complete interview I simply sent some sms to these two gentlemen giving a reaction on Ms Lemond’s statement that a sum of money had been paid in order to cover up a positive test of Lance Armstrong. My reaction was strictly limited to the fact that Lance Armstrong was never found positive by the anti-doping laboratories, that there was no positive test and that there was nothing to be covered up.

“I completely distance myself from the article in De Telegraaf and in any other medium that would use it,” he concluded.

In reponse, the journalists printed the SMS message exchange which the quotes were taken from.

Hein Verbruggen: Who is this? Hein

Hans Ruggenberg: Hi Hein. Hans Ruggenberg of Telegraaf. Called you with regards to the recent developments.

Hein Verbruggen: Hi Hans, in the light of the current madness and nonsense I decided not to give any interviews or statements untill the storm calms down. If you want any off the record info, you can call me. I am in China. H.

Hans Ruggenberg: Okay, Hein, I understand. Indeed I wanted a reaction for the paper. Off the record info is tricky in this case as you understand. Let me know if you want to give a statement. Good luck. Hans.

Hein Verbruggen: The only thing I can say is that there are many, many stories and allegations but not a tracé of EVIDENCE. There isn’t any. LA was never found positive, not by USADA either. And everyone who knows the control procedures knows there is nothing to arrange etc etc. I am a bit beyond the “tired of it” stadium. Have a good night! Hein.

Hans Ruggenberg: Shame tomorrow’s paper is already gone. Will take it for the paper of the day after that. Good luck with everything again and thanks for your reaction. Regards Hans.

Hein Verbruggen: Great. H

(sms translation by @TourdeJose)


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