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Last Updated: Sunday, 29 July 2007, 09:59 GMT 10:59 UK
Roche hails anti-drugs generation
Contador, Soler and Boonen
Young riders like Contador and Soler have starred this year
Former Tour de France winner Stephen Roche believes a new generation of cyclists will herald an end to the era of doping scandals in the sport.

Stars Alexandre Vinokourov and Michael Rasmussen, both aged 33, have both left the trouble-hit Tour in the last week.

"It's a matter of the generation that is going off at the moment - the 32- and 33-year-old guys - getting out of the peloton as fast as they can.

"We hope that the peloton will be clean after that," Roche told BBC Five Live.

We believe the teams are really trying to change the culture

Anne Gripper
UCI anti-doping chief

Roche, who won the Tour, the Giro D'Italia and a world title in 1987, was heartened by riders' willingness to sign an anti-doping pledge before the start of this year's Tour.

"Certain riders were very reluctant to sign the charter and certain of those riders have found themselves at home today," he told the Sportsweek programme.

International Cycling Union anti-doping chief Anne Gripper insisted: "The vast majority of riders are committed to a new future in cycling.

joseph farrell

"We believe the younger riders are making different choices than their older colleagues

"We believe the teams are really trying to change the culture and give riders the support to train hard and clean."

As riders prepared for the Tour's final stage on Sunday, allegations surfaced about Alberto Contador, 24, who inherited the race lead when Rasmussen was sacked by his team.

French newspaper Le Monde said the Spaniard's name, or initials, appeared in documents found at the apartment of the doctor at the centre of the Operation Puerto investigation.

He said he would - if asked - give a DNA sample but added he would not offer it up himself.

"I'm innocent," said Contador, part of Vinokourov's Astana squad last year. "I don't have to prove anything to anyone. I was on the wrong team at the wrong time."

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