By Mark Zalewski, North American Editor
A lot of topics were discussed during last week's Discovery Channel pre-Tour press teleconference, with doping taking centre stage. In regards to the anti-doping charter that all ProTour riders are required to sign prior to the start of the Tour, director sportif Johan Bruyneel said he is planning on directing all of his riders to sign before the Tour, but only after the document has been modified.
"I can say that the document is being modified as we speak because it was not legally binding," he said. "It will ultimately be signed by all our riders before the Tour de France. I was at the meeting in Geneva when the UCI and Pat McQuaid passed the document to the teams. At first it was a little bit of a surprise because nobody had been consulted. But I think all of the team managers could agree that a positive sign had to be given. We definitely agree with it.
"It is definitely a message we all want to send out together -- teams, riders and the UCI. Knowing that the sport is the most tested sport in the world, in terms of quantity and quality, there is nothing more that we can do except have the riders declare they are not involved -- and on top of that they will pay a big financial fine."