Guillaume Martin couldn’t say the whole peloton is clean after the Tour de France 2020.
The Cofidis rider, who ended the Tour as the best-placed French rider overall, said that every year the yellow jersey winner faces suspicion; “the price of the sport’s troubled past.”
Martin said he tries not to be suspicious of his rivals for fear of getting discouraged, but he added he “wouldn’t put his hand in the fire” and say the whole is peloton is clean.
The 27-year-old told French newspaper Le Parisien: "I can't allow myself to have doubts and say to myself 'I'm 11th but he’s suspicious or he’s suspicious', otherwise I’ll get too discouraged.
“I’m not naive - I wouldn’t put my hand in the fire to say that the whole peloton is clean.”
Martin had ridden strongly in the opening two weeks of the Tour, finishing third on stage four to Orcières-Merlette and sitting third overall after stage 12.
But he began to struggle in the second half of the week, slipping outside the top-10 on the road to Puy Mary and finishing the race in 11th place by Paris.
The Tour ended in remarkable fashion, with Tadej Pogačar stealing back two minutes on the final time trial to overtake Primož Roglič, who had been in control for much of the race.
Martin said: “Every year the winner of the Tour is suspect - this is the price of the sport’s troubled past. One has to live with it.”
The Tour was also hit by suspicion in the final week, as Arkéa-Samsic’s team hotel was raided and two staff members were taken into custody (they’ve since been released).
After the Tour finished in Paris, news emerged that environment and public health officers had reportedly confiscated injection equipment, while Nairo Quintana and his brother Dayer were voluntarily interviewed by police.
Quintana has denied any wrongdoing and said the substances found were vitamin supplements.
But Martin believes cycling can get past the doping accusations: “The Tour recovers from everything. It recovered from Covid-19 when we said it wouldn’t take place.
“I believe in human optimism - even a new ‘dirty trick’ wouldn’t bring it down.”
João Rodrigues snatches Volta ao Algarve victory from Ethan Hayter after punishing final climb
João Rodrigues snatched the Volta ao Algarve victory from Ethan Hayter after a punishing final climb
By Chris Marshall-Bell •
Five talking points from stage two of the Giro d'Italia 2021
Gaviria's run-in with a team-mate, confusion at the intermediate sprint, and Merlier's big win - don't miss these moments from the first sprint
By Stephen Puddicombe •
Elia Viviani leaves Cofidis training camp due to heart concerns, according to report
Elia Viviani has reportedly left the Cofidis winter training camp due to heart concerns, according to Italian media.
By Alex Ballinger •
Anthony Perez suffered multiple injuries after colliding with team car and hitting cliff wall at Tour de France
Anthony Perez has revealed the extent of his injuries after he crashed into his team car during stage three of the Tour de France 2020.
By Alex Ballinger •
Elia Viviani's transfer to Cofidis confirmed
Elia Viviani is on the move and will sign with Cofidis, the French outfit have confirmed.
By Alex Ballinger •
Simon Yates cedes overall lead as Alexandre Geniez wins Vuelta a España 2018 stage 12
Jesus Herrada is the new leader of the Vuelta after getting in the day's breakaway
By Richard Windsor •
Nacer Bouhanni reportedly involved in 'violent altercation' with Cofidis DS on team bus after race
Nacer Bouhanni's has reportedly been involved in a "violent altercation" with one of the Cofidis' sports directors on the team bus after a recent race.
By Henry Robertshaw •
Tour de France 2017 wildcard teams announced
Three French teams and one Belgian squad will join the 18 WorldTour squads in the 2017 Tour de France
By Nigel Wynn •
Hand injury caused by fight forces Nacer Bouhanni out of Tour de France
A hand injury suffered in a fight with a drunken hotel guest at the weekend will keep Nacer Bouhanni out of the Tour de France
By Stuart Clarke •