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Degenkolb: Clean cycling still a pipe dream

"We should not expect to see cycling liberated forever from these cheats," says classics champion John Degenkolb

BERLIN (AFP) — Top cyclist John Degenkolb, winner of Milano-Sanremo and Paris-Roubaix this season, said two weeks ahead of the Tour de France that dope cheats were still thriving in cycling.

“We should not expect to see cycling liberated forever from these cheats,” said the 26-year-old rider. “And the same goes for other sports too,” he insisted.

“Sport 100 percent without doping is an illusion.” Degenkolb insisted that he was totally clean and had made a zero-tolerance pact with Giant-Alpecin teammate and top sprinter Marcel Kittel who has won eight Tour de France stages in two editions, as well as German time trial specialist Tony Martin.

“Anyone who does not believe us should come and observe us training to be convinced of our honesty,” he said.

A draft bill to make doping a criminal offense is underway in Germany, and was hailed by Martin, Degenkolb, and Kittel as the nation takes the fight to the dopers.

Degenkolb also called upon international authorities to act swiftly and severely to eliminate cheats.

“In the Astana case, things have been going on too long and the federation needs to act more swiftly and decisively,” he said.

Astana’s leader, the Italian climber Vincenzo Nibali, won the Tour de France last year. Since then the Kazakhstani outfit had two first-team riders banned this year but have nevertheless received an invitation to race in the 2015 edition.