Tuesday, July 31, 2007

De Mondenard: "only one person"

Greg LeMond has been interviewed about the last Tour de France, and here is what he said:

Red flag' on Evans' rival
From correspondents in New York
July 27, 2007 THREE-time Tour de France champion Greg LeMond said today that it was unfair to brand Michael Rasmussen a cheat without looking at those around him.

And he warned there was a "red flag" on the new man in the yellow jersey, Discovery Channel rider Alberto Contador from Spain, who stands between Cadel Evans and an historic Australian victory in Paris on Monday (AEST).

Indeed, LeMond believes there should be no champion this year.

In a dramatic few days on the crisis-hit race, long-time leader Rasmussen was sensationally turfed out by his Rabobank team.

France's No.1 team, Cofidis, pulled out after it was revealed that Italian rider Cristian Moreni had tested positive for testosterone, while Astana also quit following favourite Alexandre Vinokourov's dope test failure.

"If Rasmussen got caught, and if you want to be equal, you have to implicate other riders, too," LeMond said.

"You have a lot of riders against whom there's a lot of evidence and relations to certain doctors. Those riders are getting away with it.

"Alberto Contador and Rasmussen are at 60kgs each and both are climbing as fast as (Marco) Pantani did. That's a red flag right there," he said in a reference to the late Italian, a superb climber who won both the Tour de France and Giro d'Italia in 1998.

"Contador has been involved in Operation Puerto'" he added, citing the doping scandal that rocked Spain.

"I'm not pointing fingers at Contador. I'm just saying that if you point fingers at Rasmussen, you have to look at the riders next to him."

LeMond said he thought the Tour de France would be better served if it didn't name a champion this year.

"I would prefer to see a non-Tour de France winner," he said.

"It's more symbolic."

However, he said the opinions sprouting around Europe, that the latest scandals will spell the end of the Tour, are wrong, although he does believe the reputation of cycling as a competitive sport is in jeopardy.

"The Tour will survive," LeMond said.

"The Tour is an event. It has a glorious past. It has a history. The Tour will never go away. During three weeks, riders become actors. Actors with a story to tell. If you remove those actors, and replace them, you'll still have the drama and the flavor the Tour brings.

"What I'm pessimistic about is the credibility of cycling as a whole.

"Each time we thought things are looking better, then we take a dive."

LeMond said the positive tests revealed only the tip of the iceberg, that drug cheats still abounded in the peloton, and riders were under pressure to keep quiet about it.

"There's a strong omerta," he said. "But it's changing."

The doping control system needs to improve to hasten progress, he said.

"There's too many loopholes," said LeMond.

"For instance, none of the riders are tested before the start of the race. The only tests occur early in the morning, which means they can pretty much do anything they want before the start.


He called for a body independent of Tour officials and the International Cycling Union to take over, with funding by the government and more punitive measures for those caught cheating.

Agence France-Presse



Almost the same thing, in French:

27 juillet 2007
Greg LeMond: "Pas surpris"

Triple vainqueur du Tour de France, Greg LeMond n'est pas étonné de voir la Grande Boucle à nouveau touchée par des scandales de dopage. L'Américain fait part de ses doutes quant au nouveau porteur du maillot jaune, Alberto Contador.

-> Etes-vous surpris par les affaires qui ont éclaté sur le Tour de France ?

- Pas vraiment. Quand vous regardez la vitesse à laquelle certains coureurs grimpent les cols, ils vont aussi vite qu'à l'époque de Pantani. Ce qui me choque, c'est la relation que peuvent encore entretenir certains avec le Docteur Ferrari. Ils pensent qu'ils ne peuvent y arriver sans lui.


-> L'équipe Rabobank a-t-elle bien fait de renvoyer Michael Rasmussen du Tour alors qu'il n'a pas été contrôlé positif ?

- Si on a puni Rasmussen, alors il faut impliquer d'autres coureurs contre lesquels les preuves sont bien plus grandes. Ce n'est pas normal que ces coureurs puissent s'en sortir. Quand je pense que Floyd Landis (contrôlé positif lors de sa victoire en 2006) s'est défendu en clamant que les échantillons testés par le laboratoire français étaient manipulés, que les Français étaient contre lui et qu'il n'y avait pas de culture de dopage en cyclisme... Soit Floyd est un grand naïf, soit il est vraiment de mauvaise foi.


-> Pour vous, il y a donc encore des coureurs dopés dans le peloton?

- C'est évident. Les coureurs savent bien qui est dopé et qui ne l'est pas. Prenez Contador par exemple (ndlr: Alberto Contador, le nouveau leader). Rasmussen et lui ont le même gabarit. Ils pèsent aux alentours de 60 kilos et tous les deux grimpent aussi vite que Pantani en son temps. C'est déjà suffisant pour lever le drapeau rouge. En plus, son nom a été associé à l'affaire Puerto. Je ne pointe pas Contador du doigt. Mais je dis juste que si on a attrapé Rasmussen, alors il faut regarder de plus près ce que font ses concurrents.


-> Pourquoi les coureurs continuent-ils à se doper s'ils savent que tôt ou tard ils vont se "faire coffrer"?

- Si vous regardez de plus près, très peu de coureurs se font attraper. Il y a trop de mailles dans le filet. Et il en sera ainsi tant que nous ne modifions pas les méthodes de contrôle. Par exemple, aucun des coureurs n'est contrôlé avant le départ de la course. Les seuls contrôles se déroulent tôt le matin. Ce qui veut dire qu'ils peuvent faire à peu près ce qu'ils veulent avant le départ. L'UCI et les organisateurs du Tour font du bon boulot. Mais pour obtenir des résultats durables et éradiquer le dopage, il faudrait créer une structure indépendante, dans le même genre que l'AMA mais que pour le cyclisme. Cette entité serait financée par les gouvernements et aurait un pouvoir punitif. Je ne vois que cette solution pour aboutir à davantage de transparence.


-> Devrait-il avoir un vainqueur dimanche sur les Champs-Elysées?

- Non. J'aurais préféré que les organisateurs n'octroient pas de maillot jaune. Cela aurait été un geste symbolique.


-> Le Tour de France a-t-il sérieusement perdu de sa crédibilité selon vous?

- Je ne m'en fais pas pour le Tour. Il survivra. Le Tour, c'est d'abord un événement avec une histoire, un passé glorieux. Durant trois semaines, les coureurs deviennent des acteurs. Si vous retirez ces acteurs et vous les remplacez par d'autres, le Tour gardera toujours de sa saveur. Là, où je suis assez pessimiste, c'est pour l'image du cyclisme qui a pris un sérieux coup. Chaque fois qu'on se dit : ça va aller un peu mieux, on replonge."


Of course you can read reactions about that on the net, many people, as usual, just wishing Greg didn't speak out, and wondering why he should be listened to.

One of the reasons he should be listened to is that he was one of the first to speak out against doping, and has been right so far in all his 'allegations'... Had he been listened to earlier, maybe cycling wouldn't be in the situation it is now. Like it or not, he has been a messenger all along. Many people would like to be able to prove he doped, in order to make him a non-legitimate messenger. Fact is, Greg is one of the least suspicious riders of the Tour de France history. I'm not saying that just as a blinded fan. I'm not the only one saying that.

Dr. De Mondenard, a physician who's been very outspoken against doping, so outspoken that he often comes off as vindictive, said on July 26th on the german channel ARD:

'I have set up more than 4000 dossiers about professional participating in The Tour De France since 1947. All of them connected in some way to doping. There is only one person I have found nothing. It's Greg LeMond'.

This interview can be watched here.

Believing that Greg LeMond was clean can be seen as only a belief. I guess it will never be proven for sure. But the absence of any suspicions about him is a fact. With speaking out, he's been ready to put himself in a position where his past as a clean rider has be questioned, and precisely and exhaustively checked. What came out of it? Zero suspicion.That's a fact.

3 comments:

Thierry said...

I found some reactions of teammates and doctors of Greg all saying the same thing. He never took any doping. Actually as an American he was confronted in those years with the Aids hype. He was scared of needles. In the Giro of 1989 he was bad. He had a lack of iron. Doctor Ivan van Mol gave him some extra vitamines to level his iron after discussing with Greg about the danger of this injection. Greg didn't trust it but finaly took it and raced well during the last week of that Giro. I still believe he was a victim op EPO losing the Tour in 1991. The victory of the Tour in 1989 and 1990 was with ups and downs. He was not that superman of 1986 where he showed his limits too. If he took doping I think his results were far more succesful

Anonymous said...

I am a big fan of Greg Lemond. This is not just because of his athletic talent but because of the way he conducts himself. His open and honest manner endeared him to many cycling fans in the 1980's and 1990's. Now that same honesty is attacked because so many people have a vested interest in preserving the current shameful state of professional cycling. Although I cannot prove it, Greg Lemond was, for me, the last clean and true champion of the Tour de France. There is no doubt in my mind that his performances in the early 1990's were conducted on an uneven playing field and he suffered as a result. In order to rehabilitate itself, the sport of cycling needs to listen and act on the comments of Greg Lemond.

Anonymous said...

Il semble que vous soyez un expert dans ce domaine, vos remarques sont tres interessantes, merci.

- Daniel