Disgraced cyclist Lance Armstrong claims former International Cycling Union (UCI) President Hein Verbruggen "must have known" about his systematic doping, but admitted the Dutchman did not have the science to be able to do anything about it.
The American was stripped of his record seven Tour De France titles that he won between 1999 and 2005 after he admitted to doping using performance-enhancing drugs throughout his career.
He continually denied allegations of cheating but was banned from cycling for life by the United States Doping Agency (USADA) in 2012, before he finally confessed in a forthright interview with Oprah Winfrey in January 2013.
Verbruggen was UCI President for 14 years between 1991 and 2005 during the time Armstrong used performance-enhancing drugs to reach the top of his sport, and has denied claims that he covered up a failed test at the 1999 tour and at the Tour of Switzerland in 2001.
"Did Hein know? Armstrong said in an interview with the BBC due to be broadcast on Thursday (January 29).
"He would have to have known about what was going on in cycling,
"That would have started in the late 80s, early 90s.
"But as imperfect and, in my view, as unlikeable as Hein is, which is easy for me to say, what was he going to do?"
In an interview published in The Daily Mail in November 2013 Armstrong had claimed that Verbruggen had helped cover-up a positive drug during his first Tour de France victory in 1998.
The accusations that Verbruggen, a former influential member of the International Olympic Committee, was involved in a cover-up have always been refuted by the Dutchman, and Armstrong feels he was in a "tough position" as a test for erythropoietin (EPO), the main way in which Armstrong doped, was not available until 2000.
"He didn't have science on his side," Armstrong added.
"Yeah, he knew, but he couldn't do anything about it until, what, 2000 or 2001?
"People really fault him, and I'm not trying to defend him because he and I are not close, but I don't know what he could have done."
During the BBC interview, Armstrong also claims he was not given the same chances as the other members of the US Postal Team who ran what USADA called the ran the "most sophisticated, professionalised and successful doping programme that sport has ever seen".
The likes of George Hincapie, Christian Vande Velde, Dave Zabriskie and Tom Danielson were all offered reduced bans as a result of them giving evidence about the US Postal team's systematic doping, which painted Armstrong as the main instigator.
"What [USADA chief executive] Travis [Tygart] would tell you, what USADA would tell you, what we have all heard a thousand times, is, 'We gave Lance Armstrong the same opportunity as everyone else," Armstrong said.
"But if you go ask George Hincapie, Christian Vande Velde, Dave Zabriskie, Tom Danielson, any of them, they're going to tell you how it went.
"The call goes like this: 'You are not getting punished, here is what we need to hear.'
"I never got that call."
Armstrong, who survived testicular cancer and was heralded as a hero upon his return before his cheating was exposed, also said he would not dope if he was involved in cycling today.
Doping was rife among many cyclists during the American's career and he admitted he would do it again.
"If I was racing in 2015, no, I wouldn't do it again because I don't think you have to," he added.
"If you take me back to 1995, when doping was completely pervasive, I would probably do it again."
A 30-minute documentary, Lance Armstrong: The Road Ahead, will be broadcast on BBC News at 8:30pm GMT on Thursday (January 29), and again over the following days on that channel and BBC World News.
Contact the writer of this story at [email protected]
November 2013: Verbruggen did help cover up my doping, claims Armstrong
November 2013: Verbruggen appeals to Armstrong to help clear his name
April 2013: UCI hit back at USADA chief over claim Armstrong has evidence they were "complicit" in cover-up
April 2013: Armstrong has evidence UCI was "complicit" in doping cover-up claims head of USADA
February 2013: Exclusive: Verbruggen writes to top IOC members to deny involvement in Armstrong cover-up