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Greg LeMond is not surprised

Greg LeMond, winner of the Tour de France on three occasions, was not surprised about the doping scandals in this year's Tour, as he revealed in an interview to AFP

The American pointed out that "the speed at which the riders go up the climbs is as fast as in the Pantani times. That is a shock to me." He thought that many riders are still involved with Dr. Ferrari and think they can't achieve results without him.

LeMond's point of view is that if Rasmussen got kicked out, others should have been excluded, too. "There are others where there is even more proof [of doping]. If I think about Floyd Landis, who defended himself by saying that the samples were manipulated, that the French were against him and that there is no culture of doping in cycling... Maybe he is just naive, or maybe he is malicious."

LeMond insisted that the riders know very well who dopes and who doesn't, suggesting that "it's obvious there are still dopers in the peloton." He explained that Contador weighs the same as Rasmussen, and both climbed at the same speed as Pantani. "That's sufficient for the red flag to come up." He also reminded us that Contador's name came up in connection with Operación Puerto, but was cleared after the 2006 Tour. "I am not pointing the finger at him [Contador]. I am simply saying if Rasmussen got caught then we also need to have a very close look at his competitors."

LeMond suggested the reason riders still dope is that "if you look closely, very few riders get caught, actually," adding that no rider is controlled right before the start of a stage. The American's intended solution would be an independent agency, similar to WADA, but just for cycling. "It should be financed by the governments and should be punitive."

LeMond negated the question if there should be a winner on Sunday on the Champs Elysées, "I would prefer the organisers would not give out a maillot jaune. It would be a symbolic gesture."

The ex-world champion was not worried for the Tour's future, though. "It will survive. It's an event with a history, a glorious past. During three weeks the riders become actors. If you replace the actors, the Tour is still there. What I am more pessimistic about is the image of cycling, which has taken a serious hit. Every time when we think it's getting a bit better, we are brought back down."

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