Canadian Cyclist


November 18/13 10:59 am - Armstrong Says Verbruggen Helped Cover Up Positive - UPDATED

Posted by Editoress on 11/18/13

The British newspaper The Daily Mail has published a story on a meeting they set up between Lance Armstrong and former soigneur Emma O'Reilly, which includes statements by Armstrong implicating former UCI President Hein Verbruggen in covering up a positive result from a doping test.

O'Reilly was a soigneur for Armstrong at the US Postal Service (USPS) team, and one of the first people to publicly come forward with allegations of doping by Armstrong. Armstrong denied the allegations for years, attacking O'Reilly in the press and legally, before finally admitting it was true in January of this year.

One of the allegations that has circulated for years was that Armstrong actually tested positive in 1999 at the Tour de France for the banned steroid cortisone. At the time, USPS offered a prescription for a saddle sore, which was accepted, and Armstrong went on to win the first of his seven Tours; which were later stripped from him.

O'Reilly stated that the prescription was backdated as part of a cover up, and that Armstrong boasted that the UCI were complicit in the cover up. A number of other individuals subsequently stated that Armstrong had made similar boasts to them. Verbruggen has consistently denied any UCI involvement.

In the interview, Armstrong professes to not remember the details, but corroborates O'Reilly's assertion that Verbruggen was involved in the cover up, which was only a year after the Festina scandal:

'It's funny, these stories are so prevalent in my life. What I remember was there being a problem. I'm not sure if it was a positive but there were traces found. I don't know if it technically crossed the line. But anyway, it didn't matter. I can't remember exactly who was in the room. But Emma has a better memory than I do.

'But the real problem was, the sport was on life support. And Hein [Verbruggen] just said, "This is a real problem for me, this is the knockout punch for our sport, the year after Festina, so we've got to come up with something". So we backdated the prescription.'

Armstrong also suggested that this could be the first of many revelations, if he does testify at a planned Commission, stating in the Daily Mail interview:

'Don't think I'm protecting any guys after the way they treated me, that is ludicrous,' he says. 'I'm not protecting them at all. I have no loyalty towards them. In the proper forum I'll tell everyone what they want to know. I'm not going to lie to protect these guys. I hate them. They threw me under the bus. I'm done with them.'

Read the full interview Here.


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