• Cycling

Millar: Former UCI chief must quit

ESPN staff
October 12, 2012

David Millar has called for UCI honorary president Hein Verbruggen to resign following the damning evidence released against Lance Armstrong on Wednesday.

The United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) produced over 1000 pages of evidence and a 200-page 'reasoned decision' behind its move to strip Armstrong of his seven Tour de France titles won between 1999 and 2005.

Verbruggen presided over the span of Armstrong's victories, a time that USADA now alleges the American spearheaded "the most sophisticated, professionalised and successful doping programme that sport has ever seen" within the US Postal Service team.

As recently as last year the Dutchman, now a member of the UCI's management committee, insisted that Armstrong had "never, never, never" doped.

In light of the volume of evidence to the contrary, and with speculation over quite how the UCI failed to catch Armstrong, his team-mates and the raft of cyclists who went undetected during their careers, Millar - himself a convicted doper - believes Verbruggen should quit.

"The UCI have to accept they must carry some responsibility," said Millar, who served a two-year ban after confessing in 2004. "They had all the blood data, the medical reports - it was part of the culture of the sport, and in the big races the majority of riders were doing it on drugs.

"The first step for the UCI is that Verbruggen must be removed. It was under his presidency it was at its worst and yet there were all these denials coming from the UCI. He doesn't have to commit hara-kiri, he should just admit that mistakes were made."

Current UCI president Pat McQuaid remains tight-lipped on the governing body's response to the body of evidence provided by USADA on Wednesday, having previously questioned their right to strip Armstrong of his titles and the time it was taking to receive the documentation after the American had refused to contest the charges against him in August.

The UCI has 21 days to launch an appeal against the USADA findings with the Court of Arbitration for Sport, and McQuaid insists they will not be rushed into a decision.

"We have 21 days to come up with a response," McQuaid told reporters at the Tour of Beijing.

"It will be wrong of me to second-guess or pre-empt what our lawyers might decide, so the UCI will wait until that work has been done and then the UCI will make a statement."

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