The winner and runner up of the 1998 Tour de France – the late Marco Pantani of Italy and Germany’s Jan Ullrich – were named in a long list of riders to have used the banned blood booster EPO during that year’s race, according to a French Senate report revealed on Wednesday.
The 21-member parliament group made the report in an effort to assess the effectiveness of the fight against doping in France.
The tests for the ’98 Tour, also known as the ‘Tour de Farce’, were retroactively done in 2004 – four years after new technology was invented to detect EPO’s presence.
The list also included German sprinter Erik Zabel, his Italian counterpart Mario Cipollini, Spain’s Abraham Olano, former world number one Laurent Jalabert of France and American Bobby Julich who finished the 1998 race third.
Although the report confirms their guilt – it doesn’t come as a shock.
It only demonstrates what many have long suspected, that in the late 1990’s EPO was rife in cycling.