Hinault fears for Tour de France in light of doping drama

Tour de France legend rails against French Senate's doping investigation

Tour de France legend and five-time champion Bernard Hinault gave a visceral response to the French Senate's doping investigation, which this week unearthed claims of an EPO positive against Laurent Jalabert, labelling the action as "bullshit".

Speaking to Europe 1 radio, Hinault said of the retroactive testing of the 1998 Tour de France samples, done by the French anti-doping agency (AFLD) in 2004, "It was 15 years ago, so we've got to stop bringing out the dead."

The French Senate ordered the identification of the riders whose samples turned up positive in the retroactive analysis, the same analysis that in 2005 enabled L'Equipe journalist Damien Ressiot to link positives to Lance Armstrong. This time one of those names was Jalabert, according to a report in L'Equipe. The resulting scandal from the positive led to Jalabert losing his position as a commentator for French television. Hinault, who works with the race organisation said, "It's like they want to kill the Tour."

The full report is due to be made public on July 18, the same day as the Alpe d'Huez stage which is expected to decide the final overall champion of the race.

The 100th edition of the Tour has already been under a damper of the disqualification of Lance Armstrong from his seven Tour de France victories after the USADA investigation and subsequent confession to doping by the American.

As the sport tries to move on from its doping past, Hinault decried the focus on cycling by the French authorities.

"Why are we always looking at cycling," Hinault asked. "Why don't samples from the 1990s (from other sports) still exist? Why haven't they brought that out? They've got to stop this nonsense.

"It's always cycling that gets it in the neck. We're maybe not cleaner than other sports but we're not dirtier either. At least I don't think so."

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