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Riis: 2008 Tour to be "cleanest of all times"

CSC team manager Bjarne Riis

CSC team manager Bjarne Riis (Image credit: Gerry McManus)

"I think that in 2008 we will have the cleanest Tour [de France] of all times," said Bjarne Riis. Speaking from the CSC team building exercise camp in Norway, the team manager believed that real progress against cheating has been made this year. "Much work has been done in the fight against doping. All teams should follow our example, because we have a strict anti-doping programme."

The team is carrying out its annual training camp in the snow this year, through Sunday, December 2.

Riis himself has admitted to using EPO, human growth hormone and cortisone when he won the Tour de France in 1996. "I was a professional cyclist under the conditions that were given at the time," he said. "I feel good about that victory, even though I didn't earn it in an honest way."

The Dane has introduced a strict anti-doping programme at Team CSC under the leadership of Dr. Rasmus Damsgaard, who will also conduct team Astana's anti-doping programme next season. Riis claimed to have not renewed Michael Rasmussen's contract in 2002 because of suspicions, and called Jörg Jaksche's claims that the two discussed specific doping products "grotesque".

Two CSC riders became involved in doping scandals. Tyler Hamilton, a former CSC rider, was found to have used blood doping while riding for Team Phonak, and Ivan Basso left CSC under a haze of suspicion, and later confessed to having been a client of Dr. Eufemiano Fuentes.

Riis did not attend the Tour de France this year after his doping confession.

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