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Armstrong alleges UCI presidentinstigated a doping cover-up

Lance Armstrong contends former International Cycling Union president Hein Verbruggen instigated a cover-up of the American’s doping at the 1999 Tour de France.

Armstrong told Britain’s Daily Mail newspaper in an interview published Monday that Verbruggen insisted “we’ve got to come up with something” to explain his positive tests for a banned corticosteroid.

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Cycling’s governing body, the UCI, appeared to ignore its own anti-doping rules when it accepted Armstrong’s backdated prescription for a cream to treat saddle sores.

That allowed Armstrong to stay in the race, and he went on to win the first of his seven Tours, helping revive the sport after doping scandals wrecked the 1998 event.

“The real problem was, the sport was on life support,” Armstrong said in the article. “And Hein just said, ‘This is a real problem for me; this is the knockout punch for our sport … so we’ve got to come up with something.’ So we backdated the prescription.”

Though Armstrong has acknowledged the prescription excuse in a television interview with Oprah Winfrey, he had not previously linked Verbruggen or other UCI officials to a cover-up.

Verbruggen, who served as UCI president until 2005, did not respond to phone messages Monday. The Dutch official, listed by the UCI as its honorary president, has long denied any collusion with Armstrong.

Armstrong, who is seeking a reduction in his lifetime ban, told the Daily Mail he would reveal details of how the UCI operated.

“I have no loyalty toward them,” he said. “In the proper forum, I’ll tell everyone what they want to know. I’m not going to lie to protect these guys. I hate them. They threw me under the bus.”

In October 2012, the UCI decided not to challenge a U.S. Anti-Doping Agency verdict to strip Armstrong of his Tour titles and ban him for life. Verbruggen’s successor, Pat McQuaid, said Armstrong deserved to be forgotten by the sport.

College football

Meyer says BCS is ‘flawed’

The Bowl Championship Series has been good to Urban Meyer.

He coached two Florida teams to national championships under the format in the 2006 and 2008 seasons. Each time, the Gators lost a game in the regular season but were able to play for the BCS title.

But this season, Meyer is the coach at Ohio State (10-0) and the team is behind Alabama and Florida State in the BCS standings — and might get boxed out of the title game.

“Without spending much time on it, because it’s not fair to our team to do that, I will say this: I think it’s a flawed system,” Meyer said when asked about the BCS, which will be replaced by a four-team playoff in future seasons.

Looking ahead to seasons beyond this one, Meyer said, “There’s going to be controversy in playoffs, too. There’s not a 64-team playoff; you can only have four guys. What is that fifth team going to feel like?”

Accounts of CIAA fight differ

Virginia State and Winston-Salem State have drastically varying versions of a fight that left WSSU quarterback Rudy Johnson beaten in a bathroom.

Johnson was injured during a fight at a luncheon the day before Saturday’s scheduled Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association championship game and Virginia State running back Lamont Britt was charged in the case.

CIAA officials canceled the title game and declared Virginia State ineligible for the postseason.

Virginia State coach Latrell Scott on Monday said there was a “rush to judgment” and added one player “made a bad decision.”

Winston-Salem State, the No. 4 seed in its region, faces fifth-seeded Slippery Rock in the first round of the Division II playoffs Saturday and Johnson said he is certain he will play.

Johnson wore sunglasses at a news conference, concealing cuts above and below his blackened right eye. The quarterback said he was punched, stomped and kicked by as many as six Virginia State players during the fight that also left him with a headache, a sore back and sore ribs.

Johnson said when he entered the bathroom, Virginia State players asked if he was the Rams’ starting quarterback. Johnson recalled “somebody hit me on my blind side” when he was washing his hands and later felt “four or five feet stomping on me and kicking me.”

Meanwhile, WSSU Chancellor Donald Reaves said Scott “refused to cooperate and … came very close on Friday afternoon to being arrested” for obstruction, adding the coach “went completely berserk” when asked for contact information for Virginia State President Keith T. Miller.

“He was more out of control than his players were,” Reaves said of Scott.


James, Beckham have talks

NBA superstar LeBron James of the Miami Heat has had “preliminary talks” with soccer icon David Beckham about possibly bringing a Major League Soccer team to South Florida.

“There’s some interest on both sides,” James said. “David has become a good friend of mine over the last few years. And I think it would be great for this city to have a football club, for sure.”

Beckham, who played for the MLS Los Angeles Galaxy, has the right to pay $25 million to start an expansion franchise.


• Russia’s sports minister said passing the gay “propaganda” law in June that sparked calls for boycotting the 2014 Sochi Olympics was a mistake — not because of its contents, but because of its timing. Vitaly Mutko is quoted by the RBK business newspaper as saying: “Perhaps the state authorities should have waited a little.”

Seattle Times news services