Cofidis rider says he's only won once 'cleanly'

7th November 2006, Comments 0 comments

PARIS, Nov 7, 2006 (AFP) - Former professional Philippe Gaumont claimed he won only one race "cleanly" in his career during testimony given at a French court Tuesday where a total of 10 Cofidis employees are facing doping charges.

PARIS, Nov 7, 2006 (AFP) - Former professional Philippe Gaumont claimed he won only one race "cleanly" in his career during testimony given at a French court Tuesday where a total of 10 Cofidis employees are facing doping charges.

The Cofidis doping scandal erupted in 2004 when one of the team's young Polish riders was caught at an airport with the banned blood booster EPO (erythropoietin).

That led to a serious police investigation in which a number of the team's riders, including Britain's David Millar, became ensnared.

Millar, who is now back cycling with the Saunier Duval team after serving a two-year doping ban after he admitted using EPO to police who found empty vials in his home, was due to be heard later Tuesday.

Gaumont shocked the court Tuesday when he said it was the current doctor of the French Cycling Federation (FFC), Armand Megret, who had first injected him with a doping product, in 1994.

"It was Armand who injected me with the first ever doping product of my career, in 1994," said Gaumont, who after retiring two years ago went on to write a book detailing the sordid secrets of drug-taking on and off the bike.

The residing judge, Laurent Bougerie, was stunned.

"The same Armand Megret who is working as the official federation doctor, and who helped introduce the long-term health supervision programme for riders?" he replied.

The long-term health supervision programme for riders was introduced by the French authorities in a bid to keep track of the physical parameters of French professionals.

Gaumont, who rode with Cofidis from 1997 to 2004, admitted he had won only one race not taking any kind of products.

"I only won one race cleanly as a professional, and that was the Tour of Poitou-Charentes in 1994."

He added: "At Cofidis, there was only one rider who didn't cheat and that was (Frenchman) David Moncoutier. He had sufficient, physical qualities and he was strong enough mentally not to be tempted."

Megret and other non-riders accused in the case, are due to give testimony on Wednesday.

However before leaving, Gaumont fired a warning shot as regards the future of the sport.

"It's difficult to change things in cycling," said Gaumont.

"Cycling is run by former riders, and when you've got former riders then you automatically have former cheats."

A total of 10 people, including seven riders or former riders, are facing charges in the case which is scheduled to end Friday.

The charges relate mostly to the possession and distribution of banned substances.

Copyright AFP

Subject: French news

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