There appears to be some Paul Kimmage-like boldness about doping revelations in the pro peloton recently, as Procycling‘s Daniel Friebe provides some colourful colour about disgraced Italian Riccardo Riccò from a former French yellow jersey wearer.
According to Friebe’s latest blog, there were some fascinating comments in L’Equipe today from former Tour yellow jersey wearer Stéphane Heulot. Heulot rode alongside Saunier Duval chief Mauro Gianetti at La Francaise des Jeux in 1998, the year of Gianetti’s infamous and apparently doping-induced brush with death in the Tour of Romandy. In recent years, Heulot has been carrying out PR duties for Saunier Duval and their cycling team in France.
It’s fair to say he won’t be doing that job for too much longer.
“Doping is so ingrained in certain managers, like GIanetti, that they can’t conceive of cycling any other way,” Heulot said on Friday. “The chief executive [of Saunier Duval] wanted to believe that Riccò and Piepoli were winning because the others had stopped doping. I told him that wasn’t the case…With people like GIanetti, we’re heading straight for an impasse. I just told the truth and I won’t retract any of it. When people ask me if there’s a risk of organized doping at Saunier Duval, I say ‘yes’ because I believe it, I feel it. I obviously don’t have any formal proof, but there are certain signals which don’t lie. I might be proved right in the future.”