Friday, July 27, 2007
Wiggins, ousted due to teammate's doping, lashes out
MANCHESTER, England -- British cyclist Bradley Wiggins
declared this year's Tour de France "null and void" after he was
unwittingly caught up in the doping scandals that have rocked the
Wiggins' Confidis teammate, Cristian Moreni, was informed
Wednesday he had tested positive for testosterone following the
16th stage. After finishing the stage in Gourette, Moreni was
arrested and organizers requested the whole team quit the race.
Overall leader Michael Rasmussen was then expelled by his own
Rabobank team for giving incorrect information about his
whereabouts before the Tour, which he had led since July 15.
"The whole thing has just lost complete credibility as far as
I'm concerned," Wiggins said Friday at a news conference at
Britain's National Cycling Centre. "No one's got any faith in
who's yellow now. The whole thing is null and void as far as I'm
concerned this year."
Wiggins, who also faced police questioning, is angry that
cheaters are tarnishing the race's reputation. The scandal has made
him question his own future in the sport, but he promised to
concentrate on next year's Beijing Olympics and return to the Tour
"Five people have spoiled it out of nearly 200 guys who started
in London, so it is a minority," he said. "But unfortunately that
minority are the guys who were winning stages and taking the yellow
Until the start of this year's race this month, Wiggins hadn't
seen Moreni since January.
"There are 26 riders in each of the teams throughout Europe,
and you can't control what 25 other riders are going to be doing
when they are away from you at home," Wiggins said.
Wiggins says cheating riders must be banned for life to restore
the Tour's reputation.
"I don't blame people for now doubting the credibility of the
Tour de France for the next five, six, seven years," Wiggins said.
"What do we do? Do we just cancel the Tour de France now? I think
from the sport's point of view now, the Tour is essential."
Wiggins blames older riders for tainting the sport and looks to
youth to restore cycling's pride.
"There's a new generation coming through of younger guys," he
said. "And unfortunately it's the older guys who were there back
in '98 who are still willing to push the boundaries and see how far
they can go without being caught."