By Agence France Presse
Top German cyclist Linus Gerdemann, known for his staunch anti-doping stance, has criticized the return of Lance Armstrong to professional cycling, citing the doping suspicions — all of them unproven — that have dogged the seven-time Tour de France winner.
“This is not positive for the credibility of cycling,” said Gerdemann, winner of the Tour of Germany. “But there’s nothing anyone can do about it.”
Regarded as the rider who could help restore cycling’s credibility in Germany, where doping scandals have left it on the scrapheap, the 26-year-old Gerdemann claimed the first mountain stage of the 2007 Tour in his debut but missed this year’s race, and the Beijing Olympics, because of a broken leg.
Gerdemann’s sentiments echo those of German television chiefs at ARD and ZDF, who have refused to cover the Tour de France next year after a spate of high-profile doping scandals, including positive tests by German riders.
“For us, Armstrong is a piece of the past we don’t want to see again,” Rolf-Dieter Ganz, head of communications at ARD, told Die Welt newspaper on September 14.
“The future belongs to young riders, certainly not to Armstrong’s generation, which we had hoped to have seen the back of.”