Tour de France bosses Patrice Clerc and Christian Prudhomme have argued that Riccardo Ricco?s positive for EPO is actually good news because it shows the cheats are being caught.
?We can be optimistic. If you want to have a clean sport, you have to do the cleaning and that?s what happened with Ricco,? Clerc said in a packed press conference in Narbonne on Thursday evening.
Clerc said he had no information about what type of EPO was being used by the riders. He also refused to rule out more positive tests, saying he had “no idea” what the next few days might hold.
?We?re heading towards a more and more acceptable Tour. But we always said the fight against doping would be hard, long and difficult? Clerc said.
Christian Prudhomme admitted that he had seen Saunier Duval?s domination of the Hautacam stage, where they took first and second on the summit finish, as ?surprising.? But he had not been struck by the idea that it was more than coincidental that two of the three riders who have tested positive have been Spanish and that Saunier Duval are a Spanish team.
?They?re just riders who we have to catch and kick out, that?s all. It doesn?t matter what
nationality they are,? Prudhomme said. He also refused to confirm rumours that Saunier Duval will not be back in the Tour next year.
There was virtually no self-criticism from the Tour bosses during the half-hour press
conference, just repetition of the determination to drive out doping.
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|TOUR DE FRANCE 2008: STAGE REPORTS|
Stage 12: Cavendish makes it three
Stage 11: Arvesen wins
Stage 10: Evans takes yellow jersey by one second
Stage nine: Ricco wins in the Pyrenees
Stage eight: Cavendish wins again in Toulouse
Stage seven: Sanchez takes action-packed stage
Stage six: Ricco storms to win
Stage five: Cavendish takes first Tour win
Stage four: Schumacher wins TT and takes race lead
Stage three: Dumoulin wins stage from break
Stage two: Hushovd wins chaotic sprint
Stage one: Valverde wins
|TOUR DE FRANCE 2008: NEWS|
Saunier Duval pull out of Tour
Tour’s top ten changes
Ricco positive for EPO at Tour
Analysis: Tour de France rest day summary
Cavendish battles through Pyrenees
Evans suffers but takes yellow jersey [stage 10]
Analysis: Hautacam shakes up 2008 Tour
Ricco silences critics with solo attack in Pyrenees [stage nine]
Cavendish talks about his second stage win [stage eight]
Beltran heads home but doubts remain about other Tour riders
David Millar: the dope controls are working
Manuel Beltran tests positive for EPO at the Tour
Comment: How the Tour rediscovered its spirit
Doping back in Tour de France headlines
Millar: close but no cigar in Super-Besse [stage six]
Super-Besse shows form of main contenders [stage six]
Millar to go for yellow [stage six]
Team Columbia’s reaction to Cavendish’s win [stage five]
Cavendish talks about his Tour stage win
Tour comment: Why Evans should be happy [stage four]
Millar: Still aiming for Tour yellow jersey [stage 4]
Who is Romain Feillu?
Cavendish disappointed with stage two result
Millar too close to Tour yellow jersey
Stage 2 preview: A sprint finish for Cavendish?
Millar happy after gains precious seconds in Plumelec
Valverde delighted with opening Tour stage win
Comment: Is Valverde’s win a good thing for the Tour?
|TOUR DE FRANCE 2008: PHOTOS|
|TOUR DE FRANCE 2008: BLOGS|
|TOUR DE FRANCE 2008: GUIDE|