Lance Armstrong has told the Daily Mail newspaper that former UCI (International Cycling Union) president Hein Verbruggen not only knew about his doping but helped to cover his tracks. The Texan – who was stripped of his numerous titles including seven Tour de France wins after finally confessing to a lifetime of cheating – told the newspaper’s Sportsmail section that Verbruggen aided him in avoiding a ban back in 1999 by agreeing to lay the blame for a positive test on a prescription for a steroid cream to treat saddle sores which was then backdated.
Armstrong’s latest salvo naturally contradicts Verbruggen’s version of events who continues to deny any wrongdoing – in a letter to the UCI earlier this month which marked the end of his tenure as ‘honorary president’ he wrote: ‘I have never acted inappropriately and my conscience is absolutely clean… With the benefit of hindsight, however, I admit that I could have done some things differently, but I do not accept that my integrity is in doubt.’
Armstrong, of course, is trying to fight his way out of a corner and clearly holds no elegance to the former heads of the sport’s governing body despite the prospect of being part of a ‘truth and reconciliation’ process initiated by incoming president Brian Cookson – cooperation holds the potential of his lifetime ban being reduced to as little as eight years. But speaking to Sportsmail he said emphatically, ‘I’m not going to lie to protect these guys. I hate them. They threw me under the bus. I’m done with them.’