Lance Armstrong cover-up claim denied by Hein Verbruggen

Hein Verbruggen, the former head of world cycling, has rejected a claim from Lance Armstrong that he helped cover up a positive drug test for the disgraced American cyclist.

Last month, Armstrong claimed that in 1999, the year he won the first of his seven Tour de France titles, Verbruggen encouraged him to stay quiet over a positive test for a banned steroid.

Lance Armstrong admits doping to win cycling titles

When asked if he colluded with Armstrong, Dutchman Verbruggen said: "It is not true. Lance is mixing up two things, purposefully perhaps."

Armstrong was stripped of his Tour de France titles last year, before admitting he had taken performance-enhancing drugs during his career.

Verbruggen, 72, was president of the International Cycling Union (UCI) when Armstrong tested positive at the 1999 Tour de France.

Armstrong claims Verbruggen agreed to blame a backdated prescription for a steroid cream to treat saddle sores for the positive test in order to help protect the image of the sport.

However, Verbruggen, still a member of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), told BBC Sport's Matt Slater that Armstrong was "mixing up an adverse analytical finding" with a positive test.

"We have about 3,000 adverse analytical findings per year from all sports," explained Verbruggen.

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"Of these 3,000, there are about 800 which remain and which are to be considered by the governing bodies as positive.

"He was never positive because at that time it was an adverse analytical finding.

"The French ministry considered that it could not be a doping case because they saw he was not having it every day in his urine. It had to come from an ointment.

"The French then decided this was not a positive case."