Cycling: I was a victim of doping scandal - Evans

Cadel Evans celebrates with fans after winning last year's Tour de France. Photo / Getty Images
Cadel Evans celebrates with fans after winning last year's Tour de France. Photo / Getty Images

Tour de France champion Cadel Evans has singled himself out as one of the victims of the doping scandal that has rocked cycling.

The sport was plunged into crisis this month by revelations of the sophisticated doping regime that disgraced rider Lance Armstrong used on his way to capturing seven Tour de France titles from 1999 to 2005.

The Texan finally ran out of friends this week when the sport's global governing body stripped him of his Tour de France titles and stated he had no place in cycling.

Speaking after a presentation in Paris to announce the course for next year's 100th Tour de France, Evans said the media reaction had been over the top.

"I would say it has been very hysterical," he said.

"I can understand it is very confronting for everyone involved and I was there trying to follow (the leaders) in 2005.

"I think if anyone should be disappointed, it should be myself.

"But these things cause change and already have caused changes and from these events we have already moved forward for the better.

"It is difficult to deal with at the moment but let's move on and look to the future."

Evans, who has been credited as one of a new generation of clean riders, praised the United States Anti-Doping Agency for their dogged pursuit of Armstrong.

It was the release of USADA's damning 1000-page report a fortnight ago that has shredded the American's reputation.

"Compliments to USADA and all those investigators," Evans said.

The crisis has also claimed the scalps of former Australian professional riders Matt White and Stephen Hodge after they both confessed to doping.

White stood down as Cycling Australia's professional men's road co-ordinator and vice-president Hodge resigned from the board.

Evans reiterated there had been a concerted effort to clean up the sport from within the peloton since he finished eighth in his maiden Tour de France in 2005.

"From someone who rides in the front group, I can see and feel there has been a lot of change," he said.

"In every way, it is the mentality of the cycling and teams, this has been what has caused the changes."

Earlier on his website, Evans urged cycling fans not to give up on the sport despite the latest chapter in its drug-stained history.

"For those who are disappointed with the situation right now: do not despair, do not abandon us now we are in our best years, preparing things for our most important moment yet - the future," he said.

Evans this week acknowledged meeting a doctor in 2000 at the centre of the doping scandal, Michele Ferrari, but said they had never discussed anything untoward.

- AAP

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