Frank Vandenbroucke said that he won Liège-Bastogne-Liège in 1999 "honestly", because he and all the other top riders were all using the same doping preparations.
In an interview with the Belgian men's magazine Che, he said, he won the race "in an honest manner. Because I am 100 percent certain that I had taken nothing differently that day than the second, the third, the fourth and the fifth place finishers. Everyone rode with the same thing in himself, we fought with equal weapons.
"Therefore it was an honest race, with an honest result. That day, or rather that year, I was the best of all. Everybody in the peloton knew it."
The 34-year-old said that new drugs were introduced into the peloton by "pioneers". According to HLN.be, which reported the interview, he said that the Italian team Gewiss "was the EPO pioneer, everyone knew that. Furlan, Berzin, Argentin ... there is a reason why at a certain moment some men are riding 10 kilometre per hour faster than the others."
Vandenbroucke, who will ride this season for the Belgian-Australian Continental team Fuga-Down Under, regretted never having "had the chance to be a pioneer, to try out new doping products first." He said that if he had had the chance, he "would have done it without doubt. .... Everyone would have seized that chance. Nobody should be hypocritical about that!"
Some of his major victories did come while he was not doped, Vandenbroucke insisted. In 1994 he won the Queen Stage of the Tour Méditerranéen, ahead of riders "with a hematocrit of 60. Mine was 42!"
Vandenbroucke ranked that mountaintop finish as greater than his later win in L-B-L. "Because I fought them with unequal resource. They had been prepared by their doping doctors Michele Ferrari and Luigi Cecchini. Whereas I ... I rode, so to speak, on bread and water."(SW)