ROME — The head of the Mapei team said on Thursday it was impossible for cyclists to lead a race like the Tour de France without using some form of performance-enhancing drug.

‘Without doping, it’s impossible to be anywhere in the top five,’ Giorgio Squinzi said after a meeting in Italy. He added that the reason none of his team’s riders were in contention was because they were all ‘clean’ of stimulants.

‘We know very well that we could be the best team in the world … but we can’t compete because without doping it’s impossible. That has been confirmed by the facts,’ he was quoted as saying by ANSA news agency.

‘A sponsor of our calibre cannot do anything but renounce its bid to win in the big stage-by-stage races unless it wants to compromise itself.’

Mapei rider Fred Rodriguez of the United States came third in the 17th stage of the Tour on Wednesday.

In the overall standings the team’s top rider is Spain’s Manuel Beltran in 10th place.

Reuters

Source: SOCOG