By Gregor Brown in Toulouse
Dane Bjarne Riis, head of Team CSC-Saxo Bank, looked at the positive side of Manuel Beltrán's "A" sample test result which resulted in the dismissal of the "scandalous" Spaniard from the Tour de France. He said the sport's anti-doping controls were working.
"It is bad for cycling, without saying it is a 'scandal' he is the 'scandal,'" said Riis to Cyclingnews the morning after Beltrán was asked to leave the Tour de France for his positive Erythropoietin (EPO) test. "The controls work. The system works. Those who don't understand, like him, have to leave."
The classification rider of Team Liquigas was caught in a French anti-doping agency (AFLD) control following stage one that led to a positive EPO result. All the Tour de France controls are being carried out by the AFLD, which is different than in past years when handled by the International Cycling Union (UCI).
It is believed that AFLD is carrying out more controls than in past Tour de France editions. Riis could not confirm the reported additional visits from the AFLD, but rejoiced in the added checks.
"I like that, I think it is good. The more the better," Riis said.
Riis faced EPO problems of his own in the spring of 2007. He admitted to using the drug EPO on his way to claiming his 1996 Tour de France win. However, despite past and current problems in cycling, he is ready to continue to focus on what has been an exciting Tour de France.
Riis said he believes the system works and the sport is headed in the proper direction. "Return the focus to the racing? We can and we have too."