Cycling: British cyclist David Millar calls on UCI honorary president Hein Verbruggen to resign

 

British cyclist David Millar has called for the International Cycling Union's (UCI) honorary president Hein Verbruggen to resign in the wake of the Lance Armstrong doping revelations.

A report by the US anti-doping agency (USADA) has stated Armstrong was a serial drug-taker at the centre of a systematic and widespread programme of doping by members of his team US Postal during the late 1990s and early 2000s.

Verbruggen was president of the UCI during that time and as recently as last year insisted seven-times Tour de France winner Armstrong had "never, never, never" used doping. The 71-year-old Dutchman is still honorary president and a member of the UCI's management committee.

Millar, who served a two-year ban after admitting to doping in 2004, is now a member of the athletes committee of the World Anti-Doping Agency.

He said it was obvious to everyone in the sport at the time of Armstrong's domination that drug-taking was rife among almost all of the top cyclists.

Millar told the Press Association: "The UCI have to accept they have to carry some responsibility for this because it was obvious what was going on.

"The UCI had all the blood data, the medical reports, it was part of the culture of the sport and in the big races the majority of riders were doing it on drugs.

"There was only a tiny minority getting good results without drugs and they really were the outsiders.

"The first step for the UCI is that Verbruggen has to be removed.

"There is no doubt about that - [current president] Pat McQuaid has to distance himself because it was under Verbruggen's presidency that it was at its worst and yet there were all these denials coming from the UCI.

"He was at the head of organisation with the biggest doping problem in history of sport.

"He's still there. He doesn't have to commit hari kari, he should just admit that mistakes were made and we have all made mistakes.

"But the UCI is not a commercial company so there is no one to answer to."

According to the USADA report, in May last year, responding to a claim by Armstrong's former team-mate Tyler Hamilton on US television show 60 Minutes that the UCI did not take action on a positive Armstrong test, Verbruggen reacted angrily saying: "That's impossible, because there is nothing. I repeat again: Lance Armstrong has never used doping. Never, never, never. And I say this not because I am a friend of his, because that is not true. I say it because I'm sure."

The UCI have said they will examine the USADA report and evidence within the next three weeks but will not delay a response "any longer than necessary".

Millar said the strength and depth of the USADA report - no fewer than 11 riders gave evidence against Armstrong - had been necessary to ensure there were no lingering doubts.

"That has always been the thing with Lance - you couldn't do it unless there was this level of depth and detail," he added. "There's no way there could be any doubts or holes left open.

"I am quite impressed this has actually happened. A lot of people thought he was going to get away with it but now we are dealing with it.

"We don't have a relationship any more - I just thought nothing would ever happen about it."

Millar said that cycling had "climbed out of the abyss" but he feared a whole new generation of riders would be tarnished by the past.

He said: "That's what so sad. A whole generation are now going to have clean careers and results that should never be doubted.

"Cycling went into an abyss but we have climbed out and changed the sport, yet there is still all this baggage we are carrying around.

"Hopefully this will remove that baggage and the sport can confront and be honest about the past and not deny it, and not have the confusion so that no one knew what to believe."

PA

News
people'It can last and it's terrifying'
Sport
Danny Welbeck's Manchester United future is in doubt
footballStriker in talks over £17m move from Manchester United
Sport
Radamel Falcao
footballManchester United agree loan deal for Monaco striker Falcao
Sport
Louis van Gaal, Radamel Falcao, Arturo Vidal, Mats Hummels and Javier Hernandez
footballFalcao, Hernandez, Welbeck and every deal live as it happens
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Sport
footballFeaturing Bart Simpson
News
Kelly Brook
peopleA spokesperson said the support group was 'extremely disappointed'
Sport
Andy Murray celebrates a shot while playing Jo-Wilfried Tsonga
TennisWin sets up blockbuster US Open quarter-final against Djokovic
News
i100
Life and Style
techIf those brochure kitchens look a little too perfect to be true, well, that’s probably because they are
Arts and Entertainment
Alex Kapranos of Franz Ferdinand performs live
music Pro-independence show to take place four days before vote
News
news Video - hailed as 'most original' since Benedict Cumberbatch's
Life and Style
The longer David Sedaris had his Fitbit, the further afield his walks took him through the West Sussex countryside
lifeDavid Sedaris: What I learnt from my fitness tracker about the world
Arts and Entertainment
The eyes have it: Kate Bush
music
News
i100
Life and Style
tech

Apple agrees deal with Visa on contactless payments

Caption competition
Caption competition
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

SQL Technical Implementation Consultant (Java, BA, Oracle, VBA)

£45000 - £55000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: SQL Technical ...

Head of IT (Windows, Server, VMware, SAN, Fidessa, Equities)

£85000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Head of IT (Windows, Server, VMware, SAN, ...

Lead C# Developer (.Net, nHibernate, MVC, SQL) Surrey

£55000 - £60000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: Lead C# Develo...

Technical Software Consultant (Excel, VBA, SQL, JAVA, Oracle)

£40000 - £50000 per annum: Harrington Starr: You will not be expected to hav...

Day In a Page

Alexander Fury: The designer names to look for at fashion week this season

The big names to look for this fashion week

This week, designers begin to show their spring 2015 collections in New York
Will Self: 'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

Will Self takes aim at Orwell's rules for writing plain English
Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

Toy guns proving a popular diversion in a country flooded with the real thing
Al Pacino wows Venice

Al Pacino wows Venice

Ham among the brilliance as actor premieres two films at festival
Neil Lawson Baker interview: ‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.

Neil Lawson Baker interview

‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.
The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

Wife of President Robert Mugabe appears to have her sights set on succeeding her husband
The model of a gadget launch: Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed

The model for a gadget launch

Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed
Alice Roberts: She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

Alice Roberts talks about her new book on evolution - and why her early TV work drew flak from (mostly male) colleagues
Get well soon, Joan Rivers - an inspiration, whether she likes it or not

Get well soon, Joan Rivers

She is awful. But she's also wonderful, not in spite of but because of the fact she's forever saying appalling things, argues Ellen E Jones
Doctor Who Into the Dalek review: A classic sci-fi adventure with all the spectacle of a blockbuster

A fresh take on an old foe

Doctor Who Into the Dalek more than compensated for last week's nonsensical offering
Fashion walks away from the celebrity runway show

Fashion walks away from the celebrity runway show

As the collections start, fashion editor Alexander Fury finds video and the internet are proving more attractive
Meet the stars of TV's Wolf Hall... and it's not the cast of the Tudor trilogy

Meet the stars of TV's Wolf Hall...

... and it's not the cast of the Tudor trilogy
Weekend at the Asylum: Europe's biggest steampunk convention heads to Lincoln

Europe's biggest steampunk convention

Jake Wallis Simons discovers how Victorian ray guns and the martial art of biscuit dunking are precisely what the 21st century needs
Don't swallow the tripe – a user's guide to weasel words

Don't swallow the tripe – a user's guide to weasel words

Lying is dangerous and unnecessary. A new book explains the strategies needed to avoid it. John Rentoul on the art of 'uncommunication'
Daddy, who was Richard Attenborough? Was the beloved thespian the last of the cross-generation stars?

Daddy, who was Richard Attenborough?

The atomisation of culture means that few of those we regard as stars are universally loved any more, says DJ Taylor