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.
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

US Investors Eye IPO for China's Alibaba

E-commerce giant handled 80 percent of China's online business last year, logging more Internet transactions than US-based Amazon.com and eBay combined More

Video Uneasy Calm Settles Over Israel, Gaza Strip

As cease-fire begins, Palestinians celebrate in streets; Israelis remain wary More

Video Chinese Doctors Use 3-D Spinal Implant

In treatment of a 12-year-old boy Chinese doctors used a 3-D printer and special software to create an exact replica of vertebra More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Chinese Doctors Use 3-D Spinal Implanti
X
August 27, 2014 4:53 PM
A Chinese boy suffering from a debilitating bone disease has become the first patient with a part of his spine created in a three-dimensional printer. Doctors say he will soon regain normal mobility. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Chinese Doctors Use 3-D Spinal Implant

A Chinese boy suffering from a debilitating bone disease has become the first patient with a part of his spine created in a three-dimensional printer. Doctors say he will soon regain normal mobility. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Uneasy Calm Settles Over Israel, Gaza Strip

Israel and the Gaza Strip have been calm since a cease-fire set in Tuesday evening, ending seven weeks of hostilities. Hamas, which controls Gaza, declared victory. Israelis were more wart. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jerusalem.
Video

Video India’s Leprosy Battle Stymied by Continuing Stigma

Medical advancements in the treatment of leprosy have greatly diminished its impact around the world, largely eliminating the disease from most countries. India made great strides in combating leprosy, but still accounts for a majority of the world’s new cases each year, and the number of newly infected Indians is rising - more than 130,000 recorded last year. Doctors there say the problem has more to do with society than science. VOA News reports from Kolkata.
Video

Video Northern California Quake: No Way to Know When Next One Will Hit

A magnitude 6.0 earthquake rocked northern California’s Napa Valley on Sunday. Roads twisted and water mains burst. It was the wine country’s most severe quake in 15 years, and while hospitals treated many people, no one was killed. Arash Arabasadi has more from Washington on what the future may hold for those residents living on a fault line.
Video

Video Scientists Unlock Mystery of Bird Flocks

How can flocks of birds, schools of fish or herds of antelope suddenly change direction -- all the individuals adjusting their movement in concert, at seemingly the same time? British researchers now have some insights into this behavior, which has puzzled scientists for a long time. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video Ukraine: Captured Troops Proof of Russian Role in Separatist Fight

Ukrainian officials say they have captured Russian soldiers on Ukrainian territory -- the latest accusation of Moscow's involvement in the conflict in eastern Ukraine. VOA's Gabe Joselow reports from the Ukrainian side of the battle, where soldiers are convinced of Russia's role.
Video

Video Rubber May Soon Come From Dandelions

Synthetic rubber has been around for more than a century, but quality tires for cars, trucks and aircraft still need up to 40 percent or more natural rubber content. As the source of natural rubber, the rubber tree, is prone to disease and can be affected by bad weather. So scientists are looking for replacements. And as VOA’s George Putic reports, they may have found one in a ubiquitous weed.
Video

Video Jewish Life in Argentina Reflected in Yiddish Tango

Jewish people from across Europe and Russia have been immigrating to Argentina for hundreds of years. They brought with them dance music that were eventually mixed with Argentine tango. The result is Yiddish tango -- a fusion of melodies and cultural experiences that is still evolving today. Elizabeth Lee reports from the Skirball Cultural Center in Los Angeles, where one band is bringing Yiddish tango to an American audience.

AppleAndroid