Armstrong-era cycling boss Verbruggen dies

Former international cycling union chief Hein Verbruggen has died at the age of 75

Former international cycling union president Hein Verbruggen, in charge during the reign of disgraced doping offender Lance Armstrong, has died aged 75.

The Dutchman headed the UCI from 1991-2005 and long rejected claims he was too lenient with the American cyclist, who later admitted to years of systematic doping and was stripped of his seven Tour de France titles and banned for life.

An independent commission in 2015 found the UCI management team under Verbruggen, a long-time former International Olympic Committee member, showed leniency, especially towards Armstrong, in the fight against doping.

"The UCI is sad to hear about the passing of former President and IOC member Hein Verbruggen. Our thoughts are with his family and friends," the UCI said.

Verbruggen was also an IOC member from 1996-2008, before becoming an honorary member, and led the IOC's coordination commission in preparations for the Beijing Olympic Games.

"Hein Verbruggen was a fearless fighter for his sport. Thanks to his great engagement and his management skills, he greatly contributed to the success of ... Beijing 2008 as chair of the coordination commission. For this, he will be always remembered," IOC President Thomas Bach said.

Bach said flags at the IOC headquarters in Switzerland would be flown at half mast.