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Armstrong-era UCI chief Verbruggen dies at 75

14 Juin 2017

Tributes have been paid to former International Cycling Union (UCI) President Hein Verbruggen, who has died at the age of 75.

The IOC, in a statement Wednesday, dubbed Verbruggen, who also headed the SportAccord Convention of worldwide sports federations from 2003 to 2013, "a cycling fanatic and a true sports fan".

The organisation has now moved back to its previous name of Global Association of International Sports Federations (GAISF), having previously been changed by Verbruggen in 2009.

"I'm sad to hear of the passing of Hein Verbruggen and offer my honest personal condolences to his family and friends", said UCI president Brian Cookson. "Our thoughts are with his family and friends".

A statement was also issued by the International Olympic Committee which praised the work he did for the organisation and his sport.

"Thanks to his great engagement and his management skills, he greatly contributed to the success of the Olympic Games Beijing 2008 as chair of the coordination commission. For this he will be always remembered", IOC President Thomas Bach said.

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It was also confirmed by the IOC that the Olympic Flag would be flown at half-mast at their headquarters as a mark of respect.

The Cycling Independent Reform Commission (CIRC), set up following allegations of corruption at the heart of the UCI, 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 often confronted the scourge of doping, and was perceived as being too close to Lance Armstrong, the American rider who was the face of cycling with his seven Tour de France victories before he came embody the abuse of performance-enhancing drugs.

Verbruggen strongly rejected those findings, describing the report as "unfair, biased and incomplete in its methodology, in its substance and in its conclusions".

Verbruggen's time in charge of the UCI corresponded with a number of controversies.

Armstrong-era UCI chief Verbruggen dies at 75