Former cycling head Hein Verbruggen dies at 75 | Sports| German football and major international sports news | DW | 14.06.2017
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Former cycling head Hein Verbruggen dies at 75

Hein Verbruggen, the former head of the International Cycling Union, has died. He was in charge of the UCI during the reign of disgraced doping offender Lance Armstrong.

Hein Verbruggen, the former head of the International Cycling Union (UCI) and a former member of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), died Tuesday night at the age of 75, Dutch cycling association spokesman Kevin Leenheers confirmed

Verbruggen, who headed the UCI from 1991 to 2005, was heavily implicated in doping scandals involving the sport of cycling. He was perceived as too close to American cyclist Lance Armstrong, who had seven Tour de France victories before they were voided due to evidence of doping.

He was accused by an independent commission in 2015 of attempting to shield Armstrong from investigation. The Cycling Independent Reform Commission (CIRC) said the body "exempted Armstrong from rules, failed to target test him despite the suspicions, and publicly supported him against allegations of doping, even as late as 2012".

Verbruggen - along with his successor, Pat McQuaid - was also accused of serious corruption in September 2013 and cleared of accepting bribes in 2015.

He also helped coordinate the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing as head of the evaluation committee in 2001 and as chairman of the coordination commission from 2001-2008.

"Hein Verbruggen was a fearless fighter for his sport," IOC president Thomas Bach said as part of a statement. "Thanks to his great engagement and his management skills, he greatly contributed to the success of the Olympic Games in Beijing in 2008 as Chair of the Coordination Commission. For this he will be always remembered."

dv/mf (AP, AFP, dpa, Reuters)