After hearing the news of Alexandre Vinokourov?s positive blood tests, the organisers of the Tour de France promised they would continue to fight against doping and defend the Tour de France.
Patrice Clerc ?the head of organising company ASO, and race director Christian Prudhomme (pictured) talked tough but promised doping would not lead to the death of the Tour de France.
?We said we?d started a war against doping and unfortunately in a war there are loses. Quitting is out of the question. We can?t let the cheats win,? Clerc said.
?We all feel cheated but the one who cheated is Alexandre Vinokourov. The fans don?t want riders who cheat but riders race honestly. Paradoxically as it sounds I want to carry on the battle and don?t feel down. I feel victory is getting close.?
?The Tour de France is 104 years old and has been through difficult crisis and glorious and dark moments. This is a black moment but its history can?t be stopped. All the great events over a 100 have been through problems but this event deserves all the help needed to save it. We have a responsibility to save it.?
Prudhomme, in charge of his first Tour de France following the retirement of Jean Marie Leblanc, spoke even more emotionally.
?It?s clear the current system doesn?t work and we need to change it. The system is a total failure. It doesn?t defend the greatest cycling race in the world, the fans, and the villages along the route. It cannot carry on as it is. It?s a failure. The future can only be through the Tour de France. What event can attract over two million people in London? The system is not working. We need a system than defends a great race like the Tour de France.?
?We need an ethical revolution. It?s impossible to change the system. We needed a revolution. Only a revolution will change the system.?
?In 1904 when the Tour was one year old, Henri Desgrande wanted to stop it all but 103 years later it still exists and we will save it. They?re playing Russian roulette but we won?t let anyone kill it.?