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Last Updated: Friday, 27 July 2007, 08:01 GMT 09:01 UK
No Tour champ this year - LeMond
Greg LeMond
LeMond was the first American winner of the Tour de France
Three-time champion Greg LeMond says the Tour de France should not have a winner this year following the string of damaging doping scandals.

Race leader Michael Rasmussen has been sacked for lying while Alexandre Vinokourov, Cristian Moreni and Patrik Sinkewitz have all failed drugs tests.

"I'd prefer to see a non-Tour de France winner," said LeMond, a winner in 1986, 1989 and 1990. "It's more symbolic."

However, he felt the race would survive the problems it has endured this year.

"The Tour is an event. It has a glorious past. It has a history. The Tour will never go away," said the 46-year-old Californian.

"What I'm pessimistic about is the credibility of cycling as a whole. Each time we thought things were looking better, then we take a dive."

Rasmussen was kicked off the Tour by his own Rabobank team, who claim he lied about his whereabouts in the build-up to the event.

606: COMMENT
BBC Sport's Phil Sheehan

Italian Moreni tested positive for testosterone while a sample of Vinokourov's blood suggested he had a blood transfusion prior to stage 13.

As a result of Moreni's positive test, Cofidis pulled out of the race, ending the participation of Britain's Bradley Wiggins in the process.

Astana also decided to quit following Vinokourov's breach.

Rasmussen has received plenty of criticism following his exit, but LeMond said it was unfair to brand the Dane a cheat without looking at those around him.

"If Rasmussen got caught, and if you want to be equal, you have to implicate other riders too," said the first American winner of the Tour de France.

"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."

As a result of the recent controversies to dog the Tour de France, World Anti-Doping Agency (Wada) wants to hold a summit to address the issue of drugs in cycling.

"Recent initiatives are obviously insufficient to deter some riders," said Wada president Dick Pound.

Wada is now criticising the UCI for having found banned substances, which is the consequence of any effective anti-doping campaign

UCI's response

"We need to hold a meeting urgently to see what more can be done to restore cycling's credibility and integrity."

Wada said it would invite all those involved in cycling - the International Cycling Union (UCI), race organisers, cyclists, team officials, sponsors and broadcasters - to the planned meeting.

"We will officially contact the parties involved in the next few days to offer to hold this summit," said the agency's director general, David Howman.

"We are uniquely positioned to coordinate the fight against doping and bring together the strengths and resources of all of these partners involved."

However, the UCI, cycling's governing body, has given the suggestion a frosty reception.

"Wada is now criticising the UCI for having found banned substances, which is the consequence of any effective anti-doping campaign, and is preparing to stage a show trial instigated by its president who, during the Tour de France, has constantly made condescending comments about cycling," said a UCI statement.

You can't infuse blood on your own in the quiet of your hotel room, so other people are involved

Brian Cookson
British Cycling president

Meanwhile, British Cycling president Brian Cookson says some teams continue to deny there is a doping problem in the sport.

"When you look at the kind of processes involved here we are not looking at people popping a pill behind the hotel before the start of the race," he told BBC Five Live.

"We are looking at organised systems and structures that have to have some sort of medical or quasi-medical support.

"You can't infuse blood on your own in the quiet of your hotel room, so other people are involved, whether it's doctors or people who should know better. But clearly some teams have been in denial about this.

"Now I wouldn't want to tar every team with the same brush.

"I think a number of teams have worked really really hard to make sure they have clean systems and structures and so on.

"But it's clear to me that there are a number of teams who are in denial and have been involved in this kind of structural and institutional doping in the past and clearly some of them have not learnt it's unacceptable in the current environment."

SEE ALSO
Where now for cycling?
26 Jul 07 |  Cycling
Rasmussen 'broken' by Tour exit
26 Jul 07 |  Cycling
Tour hit by fresh doping failure
25 Jul 07 |  Cycling
Petacchi attends doping hearing
24 Jul 07 |  Cycling


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