Tour no longer lists Riis as champ after doping admission

Updated: June 7, 2007, 8:58 AM ET
Associated Press

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.

Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press