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June 07, 2007

Tour organizers: Bjarne who?

BBC SPORT | Tour takes Riis off winners list

Tour de France organizers are telling the press that Bjarne Riis has been stricken from the Tour winners list after his admission last month that he used EPO for 6 seasons, including 1996, when he won the Tour.

Tour spokesman Philippe Sudres said: "We have removed him from the list because of the doping admission.

"We consider philosophically that he can no longer claim to have won."

Two issues: 1) A quick look at the official Tour website shows that Riis is right there were he's always been, atop the 1996 Tour.

2) Who, then, deserves the win? Jan Ullrich, who was 2nd in '96 riding alongside Riis at EPO-fueled Telekom? Richard Virenque in 3rd, riding for Festina, which gave us the most scandalous Tour since 1904?

The cynic in me wonders if this is a first step toward eventually declaring that the 2006 Tour had no winner. Some Tour officials have already said they don't consider Floyd Landis last year's winner, and now with Oscar Pereiro refusing to take a DNA test to clear up speculation that he's “Urko” in the Operación Puerto athlete files, organizers may prefer to have no winner to having an appointed and controversial winner.

Posted by Frank Steele on June 7, 2007 in Doping, Floyd Landis, Jan Ullrich, Oscar Pereiro, Richard Virenque | Permalink

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