Meet Laurent Dufaux. Your Tour de France winner.
Dufaux actually finished fourth in the tour that year, five and a half minutes behind winner Bjarne Riis.
However, Riis came clean today (May 25, 2007) that he rode dirty during the Tour. In addition to EPO, Riis admitted to using cortisone and human growth hormone and noted, “The only effect I had was that I rode faster.” See, folks. Drugs work.
Riise is prepared to give back his jersey, making Jan Ullrich, the William Jennings Bryan of the tour, the winner. Ullrich finished second in the tour five ti—
Oh wait, Ullrich retired in February amidst his implication the in wide-reaching Spanish ‘Operación Puerto’ doping scandal, the same which kept him out of the 2006 Tour.
So, that makes Frenchman Richard Virenque, the winne—Shit, Virenque was a witness in a trial against his former team, Festina, and after initially having publicly denied doping finally confessed.
That leaves the Swiss rider Dufaux, Hooray for Duf— Oh crap. He was a Festina teammate of Virenque’s. The entirty of which was caught in a 1998 doping scandal after a health assistant was arrested with both prescription and illegal drugs for doping. Dufaux rode for Festina from 1995 to 1998
Eventually some clean rider might become very pissed that he dropped out of the ’96 Tour after stage 12.
Riise admission, while admirable, hardly qualifies him for beatification. He has spent the previous decade, you know, denying he ever used drugs. However, he is the first Tour winner to admit to doping (Ullrich, who actually won the Tour in 1997 and in so doing pokes a rather large hole in my Bryan analogy (prick), still maintains his innocence). So good on Riis for that.
It remains to be seen if Riis will be lauded as a man who became a catalyst for change in his sport as he clearly would like to be, saying at his presser: “All doping sinners now have the chance to be honest and break the cartel of silence, if they want to give their sport the chance of a clean new beginning, free from manipulation.”
Or he could end up like, say, Pete Rose, someone who lied for so long that when he finally did tell the truth, no one really cared.
Oh yeah, this is America. And it’s cycling. No one gives a crap in either instance.