At Least Someone is Relieved
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Mar 9, 2015 – Former cycling boss Hein Verbruggen expressed relief Monday that an independent commission had cleared him of corruption, but said claims he failed to do enough to combat doping were unfair.
The Cycling Independent Reform Commission (CIRC) was set up following allegations of corruption to cover up disgraced seven-time Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong’s drug failures.
While the CIRC report points a damning finger at Verbruggen, who led the UCI between 1991-2005, it found no links between donations made to the UCI by Armstrong, to cover up his drug failures.
“It confirms what I have always said: that there have never been any cover-ups, complicity or corruption in the Lance Armstrong case,” the Dutchman said in a statement released on Monday.
“I am pleased that this report confirms my complete innocence concerning these accusations.” But Verbruggen was unhappy that his style of leadership was criticised in the report, and denied his actions and leadership led to some major errors. The report said “numerous examples have been identified showing that UCI leadership ‘defended’ or ‘protected’ Armstrong.
Verbruggen described the CIRC analysis of the UCI’s anti-doping policy, which it labelled inadequate – as “rather a cheap shot from people who today have the benefit of 25 years of hindsight”.
“I took over the UCI presidency in November 1991, when the UCI was virtually non-existent and had no financial means whatsoever,” he explained. “We had to work with the technology that existed at the time. For the CIRC to pronounce judgment concerning the “adequacy” or otherwise of the start of our battle against doping, without taking these prevailing circumstances into account, is, I believe, unfair.”
Read: The CIRC Report Explained