Cycling: UCI must accept blame for rampant drug culture, says Millar

Scot says president during Armstrong era must be removed from governing body

David Millar believes cycling's governing body has to accept responsibility for not preventing a culture of drug use from developing within the sport. Millar, a reformed doper and now on the athletes' committee of the World Anti-Doping Agency, yesterday said that process should begin with the resignation of the honorary president of the Union Cycliste International (UCI), Hein Verbruggen.

The UCI is currently studying 1,000 pages of evidence assembled by the US Anti-Doping Agency revealing a programme of wide-scale doping among Lance Armstrong's US Postal team between 1998 and 2005. Verbruggen was president of the UCI at the time and remains on the management committee.

"The UCI have to accept they have to carry some responsibility for this because it was obvious what was going on," said Millar, who served a two-year ban from 2004 after admitting using the blood booster EPO.

"The UCI had all the blood data, the medical reports, it was part of the culture of the sport. In the big races the majority of riders were doing it on drugs. The first step for the UCI is that Verbruggen has to be removed. There is no doubt about that – Pat McQuaid [Verbruggen's successor] 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 an organisation with the biggest doping problem in the history of sport. He's still there. He doesn't have to commit hara-kiri, 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."

The Usada report details Verbruggen's response to suggestions that the UCI covered up a positive test recorded by Armstrong in 2001. "That's impossible, because there is nothing," said Verbruggen on TV in the United States. "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."

Cycling in the Armstrong era is so tainted that the Tour de France's race director, Christian Prudhomme, said yesterday that the American's seven titles should not be awarded to any other rider. "When you read the Usada report, you can't be indifferent," Prudhomme said. "It depicts an era and a system which are forever soiled. The best solution is to say that there should be no [Tour] winner those years."

Last night, Johan Bruyneel, once Armstrong's team manager at US Postal and accused of being a key player in the doping conspiracy, left RadioShack by "mutual consent." Bruyneel is contesting Usada's charges.

The UCI is facing growing criticism for its handling of the affair. It received the Usada report three days ago and has 21 days to respond, including whether it will ratify Usada's decision to strip Armstrong of his seven Tour de France titles. McQuaid yesterday sought to defend the governing body. The report is critical of the UCI, suggesting members of Armstrong's team were tipped off about when drug tests were to be conducted.

"All we can do is test and test and test and send the tests to the lab, and if they come back negative they come back negative," he said. "If athletes, not just cyclists, can beat the system, the system isn't strong enough."

McQuaid believes the testing system has improved, and that the reputation of the UCI will not face long-term damage. He said: "It's not something that we have never dealt with before, we've had problems like this before. We've got through and the sport has got through and we will work through this one as well."

Millar echoed Bradley Wiggins's sentiments in insisting current riders are largely drug-free. "A whole generation are now going to have clean careers and results that should never be doubted," he said. "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 and the sport can confront and be honest about the past."

Arts and Entertainment
tvThe C-Word, TV review
Arts and Entertainment
The Ridiculous Six has been produced by Adam Sandler, who also stars in it
filmNew controversy after nine Native American actors walked off set
Danny Jones was in the Wales squad for the 2013 World Cup
rugby leagueKeighley Cougars half-back was taken off after just four minutes
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
The original ZX Spectrum was simple to plug into your TV and get playing on
techThirty years on, the ZX Spectrum is back, after a fashion
Tiger Woods and Lindsey Vonn are breaking up after nearly three years together
peopleFormer couple announce separation in posts on their websites
Life and Style
Google celebrates Bartolomeo Cristofori's 360th birthday
techGoogle Doodle to the rescue
Arts and Entertainment
Haunted looks: Matthew Macfadyen and Timothy Spall star in ‘The Enfield Haunting’
tvThe Enfield Haunting, TV review
The Mattehorn stands reflected in Leisee lake near Sunnegga station on June 30, 2013 near Zermatt, Switzerland
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

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

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Senior Digital Marketing Consultant

£28000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Senior Digital Marketing Cons...

Recruitment Genius: Assistant Stores Keeper

£16640 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An Assistant Stores Keeper is r...

Recruitment Genius: Claims Administrator

£16000 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an excellent opportunit...

Recruitment Genius: Software Developer - C# / ASP.NET / SQL

£17000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Developer required to join a bu...

Day In a Page

Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Russell Brand's interview with Ed Miliband has got everyone talking about The Trews

Everyone is talking about The Trews

Russell Brand's 'true news' videos attract millions of viewers. But today's 'Milibrand' interview introduced his resolutely amateurish style to a whole new crowd
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living