The news broke of Alexander Vinokourov's positive test control for a homologous blood transfusion while David Millar was with his Saunier Duval team during a press conference. The outspoken Scot has served his time due to a past admission to using EPO, and he was very critical of 'Vino' and of the UCI's current system, although he noted that cycling is catching cheats. Cyclingnews' Gregor Brown was in Pau during the Tour de France's second rest day when the news broke.
"That is a surprise. I don't know what to say," a shocked Millar stated when he heard of the news of Vinokourov test result and that Team Astana had pulled out of the 94th Tour de France. "Vino is one of my favourite riders. He is a guy of class. Given what we have done, with our current situation, we may as well pack our bags and go home." After minute of reflection, he clarified, "No, I don't believe the Tour should stop here. We are 40 years after [Tom] Simpson's death and the Tour still goes on."
The 33 year-old Kazakh was the winner of the stage 13 time trial in Albi over Cadel Evans as well as Monday's stage 15 to Loudenvielle before the blood control, which was taken after stage 13, showed evidence of a homologous blood transfusion. Vinokourov was quickly suspended by his Astana team which then withdrew from the Tour on a strong suggestion from the ASO president Patrice Clerc.
Millar expressed his disappointment in the news, and of the state of the sport."We have given the benefit of the doubt for a while, we really have," he commented. "A lot of people were given the benefit of the doubt and I think the benefit is now over."
There is infighting in cycling with different associations not being able to agree on which direction to take in the fight against doping. Even on the Tour's rest day there was an announcement of a new formation, the Movement for a Creditable Cycling (MPCC).
"That is true, there is no cohesion," continued Millar. "I think, if there is one thing, I try my best not to critique the UCI. But, I am going to critic the UCI today, and say that they have to pull their finger out and get their controlling system properly sorted out.