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Tour no longer lists Riis as champ after doping admission

6/7/2007

PARIS -- The Tour de France no longer considers Bjarne Riis
the winner of the 1996 race after the Danish cyclist admitted using
performance-enhancing drugs.

Because of what he admitted, he is not the winner of the Tour de France. Riis did not win.

Lawyer for cycling's cycling's governing body

"We have removed him from the list" because of the doping
admission, Tour spokesman Philippe Sudres said Thursday. "We
consider philosophically that he can no longer claim to have won."

Riis, now retired, admitted last month that he used the
blood-booster EPO from 1993-98, including during his '96 Tour
victory.

Sudres acknowledged that Tour organizers cannot formally
revoke Riis' title, which would be a first in the race's 104-year
history.

That decision is up to cycling's governing body, the UCI, which
said last month the time limits for sanctioning Riis have expired. However, UCI has urged him to return his yellow winner's jersey.

"From a disciplinary point of view, you cannot strip him of the
title but it is possible not to mention it anymore," UCI lawyer
Philippe Verbiest said Thursday. "Because of what he admitted, he
is not the winner of the Tour de France. Riis did not win."

Riis is now the director of a Danish cycling team, but its main
sponsor, CSC, is considering whether to stop supporting the team
financially.

The Riis revelations were another blow to cycling. The sport has
endured a string of doping scandals in the months leading up to
this year's Tour, which begins July 7 in London.

The 2006 winner, American Floyd Landis, faces losing his title
and being banned for two years after he tested positive for
synthetic testosterone at last year's race. He is awaiting a
decision from an arbitration panel on whether the victory will
stand.