Those who use doping products must pay the price and be sanctioned, Belgian cycling legend Eddy Merckx has said, while noting that different sports have different levels of anti-doping controls and that not all athletes are treated equally.
Specifically talking about the Alberto Contador case, the 65-year-old told Belgian tv RTBF: “If Contador is guilty, he should be punished heavily.“ However he added that there is not yet any ruling on the Spaniard's case.
“The problem is that people are not treated equally when it comes to doping,” Merckx said. Nor are sports equal in their doping controls. “Cycling is the sport where there is more control anti-doping.”
Earlier this month, Merckx told the Gazzetta dello Sport that he hoped he could trust Contador, who denies having used any doping method or product. “It would be very serious for cycling if Contador did not show himself worthy of this faith,” Gazzetta reported.
Contador tested positive for Clenbuterol during the Tour de France but claimed the positive test was caused by contaminated meat. The Spanish Cycling Federation has yet to begin a formal investigation and disciplinary proceedings.
Gilbert can win the Spring Classics
During the interview with Belgian television, Merckx also praised fellow Belgian Philippe Gilbert, saying he thinks the Omega-Lotto Pharma rider can win any of the major Spring Classics. "He can win Milan-San Remo, the Tour of Flanders, Paris-Roubaix and Liege-Bastogne-Liege," Merckx said.
However he warned against Gilbert trying to overdo it. "But it's going to be difficult next year if he wants to focus his season on the Tour de France. But with a good program, it is possible to combine both objectives."