I’ve been down in Long Beach for the Society for Information Display (SID) conference this week. I’ve been helping out DigiDelve, a Bay Area startup with some great OLED-based technologies. In and out of Internet coverage, I haven’t been keeping up with the news lately. I just read that Riis admitted to doping during his Tour Victory in 1996. It wasn’t quite an open secret that he doped, but everyone certainly suspected that he did, despite his frequent denials. In the same article, I read that Eric Zabel and Rolf Aldag, teammates of Riis (and Ullrich) on Team Telekom, also admitted to doping.
It’s best for the sport for everyone to come clean now. That said, I don’t think the UCI and the Tour will be able to rewrite the history books because of the prevalance of doping in the sport throughout this decade and the 90s. In 1996, Riis, Ullrich, and Virenque were the podium finishes. Virenque admitted doping several years later and Ullrich, though denying that he’s ever doped, is linked to the Puerto and the emerging Telekom scandals.
Prudhomme, the Tour Director, is suggesting lifetime bans for people who deny cheating but are later outed. I wouldn’t go as far as that, but obviously a hard line needs to be drawn to cleanse the sport.