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Hein Verbruggen obituary: Sportsman responsible for raising the profile of cycling around the world

As president of the International Cycling Union, Hein Verbruggen helped build the sport into an international powerhouse even as it became increasingly marred by reports of doping – most prominently featuring Lance Armstrong.

Verbruggen served from 1991 until 2005 as president of the International Cycling Union (UCI), a position that made him one of the most influential leaders in international sport. He held important roles on the International Olympic Committee (IOC), helping organise the 2004 Olympics in Athens and 2008 in Beijing.

During his time in the IOC, Verbruggen navigated questions about the selection of Beijing for the Games at a time when the Chinese government was under scrutiny for its human rights record. He emphasised the IOC’s role as a sporting organisation and sought to distance it from political questions. 

Verbruggen was born in Helmond,…

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