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by Shane Stokes
June 15, 2017
In today’s Daily News Digest: Sagan extends record with victory on stage 5 of the Tour de Suisse; Roglic wins prologue of Ster ZLM Toer; Romano wins stage 6 of the U23 Giro d’Italia; Former UCI president Hein Verbruggen loses fight against leukaemia; British Cycling discrimination report released amid claims of whitewash; Cookson ‘would be surprised’ if rumoured rivals for UCI presidency stand for election; Deutsch carves out Trans Am lead, records on the line; Trek expands endurance range with new entry-level Domane AL aluminum models; Video: Peter Sagan press conference after stage 5 of the 2017 Tour de Suisse; Video: Tour de Suisse 2017 – full prologue of Peter Sagan; Video: Disc Brakes Vs Rim Brakes with Chris Hoy; Video: how not to watch a bike race; Sagan’s Suisse celebration.
Having been ill for some time and recently receiving a bone marrow transplant, former UCI president Hein Verbruggen passed away on Tuesday evening. The 75-year-old Dutchman was president of cycling’s world governing body for 15 years, succeeding the Spaniard Luis Puig in 1991 and remaining at the helm of the UCI until standing down in 2005.
Verbruggen then passed the baton to his chosen successor Pat McQuaid, who won the election and began an eight-year stint at the top. Verbruggen became honorary UCI president and continued to wield influence, as well as presiding over SportAccord from 2004 to 2013.
During his tenure as UCI president Verbruggen modernised the federation and helped bring about the construction of the UCI World Cycling Centre in Aigle, the current home of the governing body. Using his background in sports marketing he modernised cycling and brought in other positive changes.
However his time at the top was also marked by a large number of doping scandals, including the Festina Affair. He had previously denied doping was a problem in the sport and was critical of whistleblowers such as Giles Delion and Graeme Obree who tried to alert him and others to the issue.
He introduced the 50% haematocrit limit prior to the 1997 season in a bid to limit the use of EPO, although some riders interpreted this as a green light to go to that limit. Verbruggen was also accused of helping to protect Lance Armstrong when the Texan was winning his now-stripped seven Tour titles; the Dutchman strongly rejected this, and also rejected the CIRC report conclusion that the UCI was too close to the American rider.
He launched a number of lawsuits against critics, winning cases against Floyd Landis and the journalist Paul Kimmage.
Click through to read a recent interview with Hein Verbruggen on SportCal.