After hearing testimonies from 83 sportsmen and officials since February, the anti-doping commission of the French Senate made proposals to strengthen the fight against drugs and released documents including retrospective analysis conducted on the samples of cyclists during the 1998 and 1999 Tours de France.
Secretary Jean-Jacques Lozach warned the media: “There are a lot of uncertainties. For some riders, there could be a debate [whether they used drugs or not]. It’s not a list of positive tests. It’s scientific data.”
Senators were adamant this publication will not have any consequences in terms of sporting record books. Questioned about people who may have lied under oath, like Laurent Jalabert whose name appears among those who have used EPO for the 1998 Tour de France, they said: “Nobody will face sanctions. We aren’t policemen. We aren’t magistrates. We haven’t noted absolute lies but put-offs and self-censorship.”
Lozach was full of praise for Jacky Durand’s reaction when his name was leaked from the list of EPO users fifteen years ago, a radically different one from Jalabert’s. “I admit my actions”, Durand said. “The next generation must not pay for our crap from the past. Our sport is much cleaner now.”
“I’ve liked Durand’s words”, Lozach echoed. “It’s the speech of the truth by someone who lives with it. He refuses the mix up with the current era and he’s right to do so. I trust the generation of the current riders, notably the French. We also know that suspicions over Chris Froome’s performances in the recent Tour de France are unfounded, not legitimate and not scientifically justified at the moment. But we believe it’s wholesome to preserve the process of retrospective controls.”