Hein Verbruggen and Pat McQuaid say the CIRC report clears them of any wrongdoing as they defend their presidential legacies

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Former UCI presidents Hein Verbruggen and Pat McQuaid have welcomed the findings of the CIRC report, insisting the commission cleared them of any wrongdoing connected to the Lance Armstrong affair.

In a statement apparently sent from his personal email account, Verbruggen said that the report confirms there was no cover-ups or corruption relating to the Armstrong case. He says the accusations against his presidency are made with the benefit of hindsight, and “by five people who, for a variety of reasons, had personal grudges against me”.

The Dutchman, president between 1991 and 2005, defended his reign, saying that the limited financial resources available to the UCI in the 1990s meant its anti-doping policies could not have been any more robust.

He said: “I have studied the CIRC report and I am satisfied that it confirms what I have always said: that there have never been any cover-ups, complicity or corruption in the Lance Armstrong case (or, indeed, in any other doping cases), nor did Armstrong make any payments relating to the Vrijman Report.

“The wild conspiracy theories and accusations have all been properly debunked once and for all. I am pleased that this report confirms my complete innocence concerning these accusations which have been levelled at me in the past.

“Where the report becomes more subjective, however, it also becomes more contradictory. The CIRC’s main criticism in its analysis of the UCI’s anti-doping policy is that the “policies put in place to combat doping during my presidency were inadequate”.

“That is a rather cheap shot from people who today have the benefit of 25 years of hindsight.”

>>> What did we actually learn from the CIRC report?

He added: “The CIRC’s description of my presidency as ‘autocratic without appropriate checks and balances’ is a caricature based on the opinions of five people who, for a variety of reasons, had personal grudges against me.

“I would gladly have provided the CIRC with a list of 50 to 100 people who have worked with me as President of their Boards, Commissions, etc. and who would definitely not recognize the extremely one-sided picture that has been painted of me.”

>>> Lance Armstrong praises CIRC anti-doping report

McQuaid, meanwhile, told RTÉ radio that he is proud of the legacy he has left behind, while admitting there were things he would have done differently in hindsight.

“The report completely clears me of any corruption, any wrongdoing or any complicity in doping,” he said.

“Everybody knows the work that I have done to fight doping and the UCI is now one of the leading international federations in the fight against doping, and the legacy I have left behind there I am quite proud of.”

Adding: “Hindsight is 20/20 vision. There are plenty of decisions I took during my time as president of the UCI that now, looking back on it, I would have done differently. That’s the same in any organisation and with any director.

“I can’t tell you what they were because I haven’t written down and thought about what they were at the moment.”

  • dourscot

    Don’t enjoy using this term but ‘scumbags’ is appropriate on this occasion.

    The sport descended into an bad joke on their watch and they have the gall the claim the report vindicates them.