Spanish Indurain helps EU promote organic produce

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The five-time Tour de France winner, son of a farmer, will help the European Commission to identify the best organic produce and promote it.

Brussels – The European Commission announced Monday that Spanish cycling legend Miguel Indurain was helping to promote organic produce in Europe, a move which raised some eyebrows in the EU executive.

The five-time Tour de France winner – from 1991 to 1995 – was working with a jury for the EU Organic Logo Competition, with the winner's work being used to identify organic produce on labelling from July next year.

"Miguel Indurain, the son of a farmer, has had a lifetime to polish his nutritional knowledge, and has personal experience of how this should be applied in practice," the commission said in a statement.

It said "his determined athletic spirit and strong feel for a beneficial diet" had helped the jury to narrow down a shortlist for the final stage of the competition.

But not everyone was convinced about his role.

"I was very surprised when I saw the name," given the suspicions surrounding doping which emerged in cycling during the years that Indurain rode, one EU official said.

The difficult to detect blood-boosting product erythropoietin (EPO) surfaced in the late 1980s and found its way into professional sport.

Indurain insists his victories "came through training and discipline", and he never tested positive despite numerous doping controls throughout his career.

When asked about the commission's choice of sportsman to help promote organic products, a farm affairs spokesman said: "I am sure that he ate a lot of organic produce to enhance his performance."

AFP / Expatica

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