I just read that Bjarne Riis’s name is to disappear from the official Tour de France publications. I don’t think this is a good idea. Sure, it’s your race and you can do whatever you want with it. But what we all need, in all of cycling, is the truth. Everything that is done from this day forward should be about truth, change and moving the ball forward.
…according to a report in The Guardian newspaper, where Tour organizer Christian Prudhomme said the Dane’s name will not appear in official Tour record books following his recent confessions he used banned doping products to win the 1996 Tour.
“Formally it’s down to the (UCI) to disqualify him, but for us he can no longer be the winner and he has already been wiped from the road book [the official press guide] you will see at the start of the Tour,” Prudhomme told reporter William Fotheringham.
Former pros who were using drugs need to be able to say what they did, how they did it, how they avoided detection, without having their achievements (no matter how tainted) struck from the history books. How else is this whole thing going to get fixed? We need to take a hard look at what drugs people are using, what can be tested for, what canâ€™t and what to do about it.
It’s one thing when Ben Johnson beat Carl Lewis in the 1988 Olympics and then tests positive that very day. His gold medal was stripped and given to Lewis. That one is pretty clear.
But it is a decade past the fact. And the 1996 general classification is not exactly swollen with victims. Ullrich, Virenque, Dufauxâ€¦ Is Peter Luttenberger the new champion?
A bit late for him to reel in those fat endorsement contracts, wouldn’t you say?
I haven’t quite gotten my head around all of this. And this rambling post is probably a pretty clear indication of that. But I can’t see striking Riis from the winner’s bracket eleven years afterwards as a positive move.
Do we really think the ’95 and ’97 Tours were won by angels? That it was all Riis?
No, we know full well it wasn’t just Riis. It did not start and end with him.
I’m not saying go easy on him, and I’m not saying his behavior should be ignored. But I am concerned, and rightly so, that if we continue down this road all we’re going to have from about 1990 to present day in the Official Tour Press Guide is a serious of asterisks in the winner’s column.
Maybe that’s how it should be.by