Recognised as a clean rider over his 16-year career, retired Frenchman David Moncoutié claims that almost every winner of the Tour de France during the 90s was probably using performance-enhancing drugs.
It's a sentiment echoed by Lance Armstrong when he confessed to using drugs throughout his career in January this year, where the American said that it would not have been possible to win the Tour during his reign without the use of performance enhancers.
"Almost every winner of the Tour de France was probably using this substance," Moncoutié told Euronews of the 1990s. "Maybe some cyclists in the peloton were clean, more so in recent years, but I think the majority of them were cheating."
A test for EPO only became available for the Olympic Games in 2000. Earlier this week, L'Equipe reported that Laurent Jalabert tested positive for EPO from a sample taken at the 1998 Tour de France.
Moncoutié retired at the age of 37 following the Vuelta a España last year, with two stage wins from the Tour de France highlighting his palmares.
The former Cofidis rider said that despite previous eras that have been clouded by doping controversies, the increased efforts in anti-doping meant that it could not be said that "all cyclists are cheating" and that the number of riders using illegal substances has decreased.
"In my opinion, it is possible to take part in the Tour de France without cheating just as I did and I don't think I am the only one. However to actually win the competition is a different matter. Some cyclists have special skills and we are all well trained but one rider usually stands out. We would all like him to be clean."
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