Following the announcement of a positive EPO test of its leader Riccardo Ricco, the Saunier-Duval team withdrew from the race before the start of stage 12. At the end of the race, Patrice Clerc, president of ASO, and Christian Prudhomme, director of the Tour de France, held a press conference to express their determination to eradicate all the cheaters from the peloton.
"Just before midday, we received a telephone call from Pierre Bordry, director of the French Agency for the Fight against Doping, informing us of the positive control of Riccardo Ricco, and the fact that the notification of that control had been handed over to the rider. The team Saunier-Duval, whom we subsequently spoke to, took the decision to withdraw from the race."
"It’s a rough day for cycling. We continue to deplore the stupidity, and there is no other word, which is to defy the rules that have been established. But I also believe that it is not surprising that we have caught them."
"You can not want a clean cycling, and not want to clean up cycling. What happens now is the illustration our unwavering determination in the fight against doping. The AFLD, which acts totally independently, said it was determined to make every effort. And it has. It seems that some did not believe, or not understand, our resolve."
"I think we will go on to win the game. The AFLD has conducted controls prior to the Tour on all riders involved. All were analyzed. Three riders are no longer in the race, because they have cheated. But the vast majority of the peloton is made up of honest riders."
Christian Prudhomme: "The enemy is doping"
"The controls were often mocked in the past, but that attitude is not welcome today as we have seen the effectiveness of the tests carried out by the AFLD. Everyone knows that our determination is absolute."
"At the start of the Tour in Brest I said, behind closed doors, to riders: â€˜You have the keys.â€™ That is to say that we have a choice to do his job, or do something elseâ€¦ And I note with pleasure that the gap between those who cheat and those who want to catch them is rapidly diminishing."
"I think we have to remember, in essence, the positive side of this situation. What happened today is good news for the fight against doping, and is great news for riders themselves."
"Those who attack cycling are persecuting the wrong enemy. The enemy is doping. Quit. Otherwise, it would give reason to those who cheat."