News / Europe

Tour de France Riders Say 'Enough Is Enough' Regarding Doping

Radioshack-Leopard team riders cycle during a training session for the centenary Tour de France cycling race on the French Mediterranean island of Corsica, Porto-Vecchio, France, June 28, 2013.
Radioshack-Leopard team riders cycle during a training session for the centenary Tour de France cycling race on the French Mediterranean island of Corsica, Porto-Vecchio, France, June 28, 2013.
TEXT SIZE - +
Reuters
— Tour de France riders protested angrily Friday on the eve of this year's race against the burden of suspicion they have been forced to carry because of a previous generation's doping.

“It is degrading to be dragged through the mud and be run down by some who look to make money on our backs,” the riders said in a statement on Friday after Le Monde newspaper printed a headline quoting Lance Armstrong saying it was impossible to win the Tour de France without doping.

American Armstrong, who was stripped of his seven Tour titles for doping and later admitted taking performance-enhancing drugs, had been speaking about the 1999-2005 era during which he crushed the opposition.

Earlier in the week, sports daily L'Equipe said a urine sample from Frenchman Laurent Jalabert in 1998 showed traces of the banned blood-booster EPO when it was re-tested in 2004.

“Enough is enough!!!!!!,”' the riders' statement further read.

“Today the limits of the bearable have been reached!!!! We have for many years shown our will to work for a flawless fight against doping.

“If there was a culture of doping in the 1990s, in the past 15 years our sport has been fighting alone against the plague of doping.

“We are professional bike riders and we are proud of that. But do not treat us like sub-citizens as you have been doing for too long,” the riders' statement continued.

In 2011, blood tests accounted for 35 percent of tests in cycling, while 17.6 percent in athletics and less than 6 percent in tennis.

Cycling pioneered biological passports in 2008, a program that according to the World Anti-Doping Agency [WADA] “indirectly reveals the effects of doping”.

'Racing is cleaner'

Garmin-Sharp manager Jonathan Vaughters told Reuters he thought cycling was cleaning up its act.

“The science points to a trend that racing is cleaner, that it is possible to win the Tour de France clean,” he said.

“When you look at the climbing speed and look at the numbers. The science firmly points to the fact that doping is on the decline.

“Racing is slower even though the equipment and the training are better. To me there is only one explanation for that - doping has decreased a lot,” added Vaughters.

Tour de France director Christian Prudhomme backed the riders' complaints, saying that almost every year a doping-related story breaks days before the Tour.

“I can appreciate that some agendas have nothing to do with cycling but 14 times in the last 15 years, it cannot be a coincidence,” he told Reuters.

“For some, the Tour is a unique opportunity to communicate their message.”

Referring to the report about Jalabert, Prudhomme added: “Why give on June 24, 2013, the name of a rider whom it is said doped after a control that occurred on July 22, 1998?.”

Garmin-Sharp rider David Millar, a former doper turned anti-doping campaigner, thought it was essential cycling learned from previous mistakes.

“What needs to change is that we need complete truth and transparency into what happened in the 15-year era of the 1990s and early 2000s,” said the former Armstrong teammate, who served a two-year ban after admitting taking EPO.

“So we can understand what mistakes were made and we can make sure those mistakes do not happen again. Because I think racing has cleaned up a lot, I think the Tour de France can be won clean,” he said.

For all the effort it has been making to clean up, cycling cannot let its guard down, according to Vaughters. “What I hope is that we gather information from the past to find a way to correct those mistakes the next time around.”

You May Like

Abuja Blast Impacts Lives, Livelihoods

Officials say they are looking at ways to help bombing victims and boosting security More

Cambodia Technology Adviser Criticizes Cybercrime Draft Law

Phu Leewood says current criminal code can be used to prosecute offenders and that there is no need for a separate law More

Photogallery A Year Later, Boston Remembers Deadly Marathon Bombings

City pauses to honor victims and salute emergency workers who came to their assistance in frantic moments after blasts More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Google Buys Drone Companyi
|| 0:00:00
...
 
🔇
X
George Putic
April 15, 2014
In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Ray Bonneville Sings the Blues and More on New CD

Singer/songwriter Ray Bonneville has released a new CD called “Easy Gone” with music that reflects his musical and personal journey from French-speaking Canada to his current home in Austin,Texas. The eclectic artist’s fan base extends from Texas to various parts of North America and Europe. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin.
Video

Video Millions Labor in Pakistan's Informal Economy

The World Bank says that in Pakistan, roughly 70 percent work in the so-called informal sector, a part of the economy that is unregulated and untaxed. VOA's Sharon Behn reports from Islamabad on how the informal sector impact's the Pakistani economy.
Video

Video Passover Celebrates Liberation from Bondage

Jewish people around the world are celebrating Passover, a commemoration of their liberation from slavery in Egypt more than 3,300 years ago. According to scripture, God helped the Jews, led by Moses, escape bondage in Egypt and cross the Red Sea into the desert. Zlatica Hoke reports that the story of the Jewish Exodus resonates with other people trying to escape slave-like conditions.
Video

Video Police Pursue Hate Crime Charges Against Kansas Shooting Suspect

Prosecutors are sifting through the evidence in the wake of Sunday’s shootings in a suburb of Kansas City, Missouri that left three people dead. A suspect in the shootings taken into custody is a white supremacist. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, he was well-known to law enforcement agencies and human rights groups alike.
Video

Video In Eastern Ukraine, Pro-unity Activists Emerge from Shadows

Amid the pro-Russian uprisings in eastern Ukraine, there is a large body of activists who support Ukrainian unity and reject Russian intervention. Their activities have remained largely underground, but they are preparing to take on their pro-Moscow opponents, as Henry Ridgwell reports from the eastern city of Donetsk.
Video

Video Basket Maker’s Skills Have World Reach

A prestigious craft show in the U.S. capital offers one-of-a-kind creations by more than 120 artists working in a variety of media. As VOA’s Julie Taboh reports from Washington, one artist lucky enough to be selected says sharing her skills with women overseas is just as significant.
Video

Video UN Report Urges Speedier Action to Avoid Climate Disaster

A new United Nations report says the world must switch from fossil fuels to cleaner energy sources to control the effects of climate change. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released the report (Sunday) following a meeting of scientists and government representatives in Berlin. The comprehensive review follows two recent IPCC reports that detail the certainty of climate change, its impacts and in this most recent report what to do about it. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble has the details.
AppleAndroid