Friday dope

Bjarne Riis"My yellow jersey is in box at home, you can come and collect it." Bjarne Riis is the latest former T-Mobile rider to own up to doping, which is the most significant confession so far because he admits to using EPO to win the Tour de France. Riis' use was long rumored by deduction: the Festina riders he beat to win his Tour were using EPO and the Festina riders gave him the nickname "Mr. 60%", as an allusion to his rumored hematocrit level. This now makes Jan Ullrich the only T-Mobile rider in history to have not doped (kidding).

As owner of CSC, I am wondering if this will start freeing up even more cyclists to start confessing (looks at Jonathan Vaughters, head of Slipstream). Of course, like all of the other confessions, they point to the past and cut the ties to the present: "I'm doing this to keep the focus on the work we are doing today that keeps cycling in the right perspective. The massive steps we have taken to fight doping and the ways in which we have secured that the team rests on the right and proper foundations."

In saying that he "bought it and took it [himself]," Riis may be attempting to further protect CSC from guilt-by-doctor association. Looking at the Wikipedia entry on Riis, it appears that Riis' coach in 1996 was Luigi Cecchini, who was later involved with Basso and CSC. In addition to being Rii's coach during his now infamous '96 Tour win, Cecchini was also involved with Francesco Conconi, who is believed to have given athletes EPO. The last little connection in there is Michel Ferrari, who worked with Conconi and also coached Lance Armstrong.

Riis and Basso

related articles: Pro Tour 2007
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