The 1996 Tour de France winner and Team CSC director, Bjarne Riis, has been removed from the Danish Canon of Sport*, following his admission of doping earlier this week. According to Danmarks Radio, the president of the commission which elects athletes to the list, Else Trangbaek, said, "Bjarne Riis has admitted to being doped. We therefore consider that his performance was faked. And for that reason he cannot be among the greatest sportsmen."
Long hounded by rumour and suspicion of having ridden the '96 Tour with an extraordinarily high hematocrit level, Riis finally admitted to having used EPO, cortisone and hormones during his professional career and during the Tour de France which he won. He came forward with the confession following similar announcements by his former Team Telekom team-mates Erik Zabel and Rolf Aldag.
Riis' snub by his own country could presage similar treatment by the sporting establishment. Tour de France director Christian Prudhomme has indicated that he has no interest in Riis being present at this year's Tour. However, Riis is eager to put the past behind him and focus attention on the success of his team. "I don't want my personal past to overshadow that work and brilliant effort that Team CSC is doing today," Riis said during his press conference.
(*Not the Danish sports hall of fame as previously stated - ed. )