Glad to crash
Boardman: Glad to be out of the tour
Posted: Tuesday September 22, 1998 01:36 PM
LONDON (CNN/SI) -- As Marco "Il Pirata" Pantani finally stole the show when he crossed the line to win the 1998 Tour de France, Britain's Chris Boardman said he was glad to be out of the tour on Sunday.
Boardman's tour came to an end in the second leg near Cork, Ireland when he hit a stone wall on July 13. At the time he said he was disappointed to crash out so early, but has since changed his mind.
Boardman, who was leading the overall standings, was knocked unconscious and spent a night in hospital.
The drug scandal which dominated the 1998 Tour de France had tarnished the race and the riders, the 1992 Olympic pursuit gold medallist said in the Independent in a Sunday report.
"It's sad to say it and I never believed I would, but I'm very glad to be out of the whole thing,' he said.
"If [the drug scandal] continued in the same way for another year, sponsors would pull out, the next generation of riders would go elsewhere and I - and a lot of riders - would pack it in," he added.
The drugs controversy has overshadowed the Tour de France since a Festina team staff member was caught by customs officers with performance enhancing drugs in his car.
The scandal continued to mar this year's tour as leading teams, doctors and cyclists were either banned or under suspicion for doping.
"The tour is big enough to handle one scandal like this, but maybe not another," Boardman said.
Boardman, who said he had never been offered performance enhancing drugs in his four years as a professional, said it was unfair that every rider had to be affected.
"I don't want to sound holier than thou about it, but it's been really disappointing that you've followed the ethics of sport, yet when the mud starts to fly, you get implicated anyway," he said.
He said for the reputation of cycling to survive, it was up to the sport's administrators to make the risk of using drugs greater than the rewards.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.