Less than six months after former Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong admitted to doping, cycling is once again under the microscope as Germany’s Jan Ullrich has just confessed to using performance-enhancing drugs throughout his career.
With great heroes of the past falling one by one, Euronews met up with France’s David Moncoutié, a retired professional cyclist, who claims that a majority of riders taking part in the tour are using banned substances.
Euronews: ‘‘Jan Ullrich has just admitted to being a patient of Doctor Fuentes and before him Lance Armstrong had announced that it was impossible to win a tour de France without using banned substances. Do you agree?’‘
David Moncoutié: ‘‘Yes, especially with the arrival of EPO in the 90s. Almost every winner of the Tour de France was probably using this substance. Maybe some cyclists in the peloton were clean, more so in recent years, but I think the majority of them were cheating.’‘
Euronews: ‘‘Can you explain why cycling, rather than any other sport, always seems to be a target when it comes to doping? Are other sports cleaner?’‘
David Moncoutié: ‘‘I think cycling has always had the tightest controls. Of course doping has forever been a feature of this sport but investigations show that cycling is only the sixth sport for doping cases. In recent years, efforts have been made to cut down on cheating and we shouldn’t say that all cyclists are guilty because it’s not the case.’‘
Euronews: ‘‘So the future looks bright?’‘
David Moncoutié: ‘‘I wouldn’t say ‘bright’ but i think that the number of people cheating in cycling has decreased. In my opinion, it is possible to take part in the tour de France without cheating just as i did and i don’t think i am the only one. However to actually win the competition is a different matter. Some cyclists have special skills and we are all well trained but one rider usually stands out. We would all like him to be clean.’‘