Doping and EPO were established in the peloton in the 1980s and 1990s, says Johan Museeuw, who has called on his former colleagues to confess their doping. The Belgian has in the past acknowledged his own doping use during his successful career.
"I am the first to admit it openly, and perhaps many people will blame me that I break the silence, but it must be: virtually everyone took doping at that time,” he told the Gazet van Antwerpen.
"We must break with the hypocrisy. The only way to come out of that murderous spiral is to break the silence, the silence that continues to haunt us.”
Everyone must confess to their part, he said. “If we do not then the borrowing into the past will continue. Only a collective mea culpa is the way to the future.”
Doping was a fact of life at that period, he said. “In the 80s and 90s everyone knew what each other was doing but never said a word about doping. Using doping was something everyone did. Eventually it became a part of your lifestyle."
But the peloton is cleaner now, he said. “Because it 'is' better, now. Never before has racing been so clean, I'm sure. But that data is completely snowed under” since many of those involved refused to tell the truth about “the things that went wrong in the past. The omerta of the past prevents cycling from now starting again with a clean slate."
Museeuw rode professionally from 1988 to 2004. Among his many victories, he won both Paris-Roubaix and the Tour of Flanders three times each.