Tour de France director can't guarantee clean race

Updated: June 5, 2007, 12:31 PM ET
Reuters

LONDON -- Tour de France director Christian Prudhomme conceded on Tuesday he could not guarantee a drug-free race when this year's event starts in London for the first time on July 7.

Prudhomme appeared alongside the London Mayor Ken Livingstone to talk about how the race would boost tourism, promote cycling and showcase London and Kent where the prologue and first stage will be held.

However, with last year's winner Floyd Landis still contesting a positive doping test and 1996 champion Bjarne Riis admitting taking the blood-booster EPO, Prudhomme faced a barrage of questions about the sport's integrity.

"You can take the Tour de France seriously because we have the real will to fight the doping problem," he replied.

"I cannot guarantee it will be completely clean but I can say that doping is the enemy of cycling and the Tour and that we are doing everything we can to combat it. Cycling is not alone when it comes to doping. We don't have all the cheats in our sport and though we have been harmed we cannot always be looking back.

Livingstone said he would try to get the Tour back in London as soon as possible.