Tour riders protest to French sports minister about focus on doping in the past, say cycling is being harmed
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Saturday, June 29, 2013

Tour riders protest to French sports minister about focus on doping in the past, say cycling is being harmed

by VeloNation Press at 8:18 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Doping
 
CPA issues statement protesting at unfair treatment, says current riders shouldn’t pay for sins of the past

Tour de FranceProtesting at what they see are the skeltons of the past being used to haunt today’s sport, members of the peloton and of the riders association CPA have complained at the current focus on past doping.

Several riders met with the French minister of sport Valerie Fourneyron prior to the start of today’s opening stage of the Tour de France, and told her that they have concerns about the planned release of a list of names of riders who used EPO during the 1998 and 1999 Tours de France.

Identified through retests, the list of those riders is due to be released on July 18th, the same day the peloton takes in two ascents of Alpe d’Huez. The riders – justifiably – feel that this will overshadow the race and lead to negative headlines, despite the fact that very few of those concerned are part of the current peloton.

The riders who spoke with Fourneyron include Jérémy Roy, Samuel Dumoulin, Jerome Pineau, Jens Voigt and Luis Angel Mate.

“There are affairs that are fifteen years old that are not of our generation,” Dumoulin said afterwards, according to l’Equipe. “We wanted to say that we are tired of being singled out. Today, this is a sport like any other. There are no more positive cases than elsewhere.”

The minister is apparently in agreement. “Cycling has been the victim of a media lyching,” she said. “The Tour is not doping. Doping is not the Tour.”

According to Roy, the revelations from 1998 and 1999 are a big concern. “We do not see much use to publish this list at this time,” he said. “This is the Tour and cycling will be soiled. It will overshadow the race, yet it is an era in the past.”

Fourneyron didn’t have much to say in terms of reassurance, saying that the Senate Committee on Doping sets its own calendar. She stated that it is interested in more sports than just cycling, although that will mean little to today’s riders in July 18th when the list is published.

Meanwhile the French wing of the riders’ association CPA released a statement yesterday condemning the focus on the past. The move relates to the publication of that list, and also came after misleading quotes from a Le Monde article yesterday were released and were widely reported by some as quoting Lance Armstrong as saying it was impossible to win the Tour clean now.

A subsequent examination of the full quote showed that Armstrong was specifically referring to the period when he was racing, and winning, the Tour.

“It is disgraceful to be systematically dragged through the mud and bashed by some who seek either to make money on us, is to seek notoriety. Enough is enough!” said the CPA.

“Today tolerable limits have been reached! We have for many years demonstrated our goodwill towards an anti-doping. We often pay at the expense of our privacy and our physical integrity.

“If the culture of doping took place in the 90s, for fifteen years our sport has been combatting this scourge of doping. Our generation is talking and thinking about the present and especially the future, but certainly not the past. We would like equal treatment to be implemented. We are professional cyclists and proud of it. But do not consider us as sub-citizens, as you have done for too long.”

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