Belgian cyclo-cross star Niels Albert, 22, spoke about doping and the difficulty of winning the Tour de France to Flemish magazine Humo. He said he believed it was not possible to win the Tour de France without doping.
"To win the Tour you must use the right products," said Albert, who rides for Palmans Cras, in a quote as translated by the AFP.
"During the Tour, you roll for three weeks at 42km/h average speed with sometimes three or four passes. Is that human? The organizers want the cleanest race possible, but look at the 2009 edition's race profile! I do not think we can win a Grand Tour without the use of prohibited substances."
Albert highlighted an important difference between road racing and his favorite discipline of 'cross racing. "In our discipline, we go for one hour and then it's over," he said, although he acknowledged that the shorter duration didn't guarantee that cyclo-cross was completely clean.
After last Sunday's win in the UCI Cyclo-cross World Cup in Pijnacker, Netherlands, Albert is sitting in first place in the overall World Cup standings.