Cycling: ICU's honorary president Hein Verbruggen says comments Lance Armstrong 'never' took drugs are misleading


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The Independent Online

The International Cycling Union's honorary president Hein Verbruggen has dismissed an article in which he appears to defend Lance Armstrong as “misleading”.

A report by the United States Anti-Doping Agency has stated Armstrong was a serial drug-taker at the centre of a systematic and widespread programme of doping by members of his United States Postal Service team during the late 1990s and early 2000s.

Dutchman 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" taken performance-enhancing drugs.

The 71-year-old Dutchman is still honorary president and a member of the UCI's management committee.

Dutch newspaper De Telegraaf today reported Verbruggen saying: "Lance Armstrong has never tested positive, even by USADA. There is no trace of evidence."

Verbruggen responded in a statement issued by the UCI.

"I vehemently protest against the article in De Telegraaf of Thursday morning," he said.

"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."