Verbruggen attacks WADA chief

Sunday, March 27, 2005 12.00am
UCI president Hein Verburggen launches a scathing attack on World Anti-Doping Agency chief Dick Poun
PIC BY TDWSPORT.COM International Cycling Union (UCI) president Hein Verbruggen has launched a scathing and bitter attack on World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) president Dick Pound. Speaking to procycling at the world track championships in Los Angeles, Verbruggen rejected the WADA chief's claims on the extent of doping in cycling and took issue with Pound's assertion that WADA-run controls in cycling would probably be turned down by the UCI. "That's a plain lie," said Verbruggen. "I offered years ago to give WADA the money to do all the controls in cycling. They didn't want to. So it's a plain lie by Dick Pound. Anyway, they don't have the staff, or the equipment - they don't have anything. "I don't care about Mr Pound because he is not objective," said Verbruggen. "I don't want to see him anymore. He was a good friend of mine but he's not now. WADA should be on the federation's side but many federations have a problem with him. But we can't solve the problem of doping without working with governments and that's what WADA do." Verbruggen also said that the efforts made by the UCI over recent years to combat doping were now paying dividends. "We know that most riders that are winning races are clean. The blood transfusion method is not validated yet, but we do the tests for our own use. Say we do 30 auto-transfusion tests - maybe two will not be clean. We have the information, but legally we can't publicise it." Instead, said Verbruggen, teams and riders were contacted by the UCI to warn them against any ethical malpractice. "It's very effective - it's almost a red card," said Verbruggen. He added that Pound had done a "good job" organising WADA, but that he was building a "war machine" and lacked credibility. "Yes, WADA should criticise a federation when they're not working well, but they are neither impartial nor objective," said Verbruggen. "That's not acceptable. "Pound's the sheriff who shoots everything that moves. WADA should be above all that and he should establish proof before he speaks. We will still work with WADA, but not with Pound, because he is not impartial. Athletes have the right to defend themselves even if it's with the cheapest excuse. You only punish when it's proven - that's when you hit them."

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