24 September 2020

Guillaume Martin: “I wouldn’t put my hand in the fire to say that the whole peloton is clean"

French cyclist Guillaume Martin has insisted he is ‘not naive’ as to assume everyone in the Tour de France peloton is clean.

On Monday, Grand Tour winner Nairo Quintana’s Arkea-Samsic team confirmed that their hotel rooms had been searched by police following stage 17 of the Tour in Meribel, and in his own statement Quintana confirmed he had voluntarily been questioned in relation to the probe.

Pogacar is the second youngest winner in the Tour's history (Zuma Press/PA Images)

There have also been comments made from former riders such as Christophe Bassons who suggest ‘abnormal’ performances are continuing to happen at the Tour.

This comes after 21-year-old Slovenian Tadej Pogacar won the race last week thanks to an incredible performance on the penultimate day’s individual time trial where he finished one minute and 21 seconds faster than the next best time.

And Martin, who finished 11th at the Tour nearly 17 minutes down on Pogacar, has a balanced view of the talk around doping in the sport.

“Every year, the winner of the Tour is suspect. This is the price of the sport's troubled past. One has to live with it," he told La Parisien.

"I can't allow myself to have doubts and say to myself 'I'm 11th but he or he is suspicious'. Otherwise, I'll get too discouraged. Even though I'm not naïve: I wouldn't put my hand in the fire to say that the whole peloton is clean.

"Afterwards I see on social networks that some people even doubt me, even though I know exactly how I work. I can't do anything about the doubts. If Tadej Pogačar is clean, it's terrible to be accused of that."

Speaking about current managers and team principals having a chequered past when it comes to doping, the 27-year-old added: "One of the problems of our sport is that many of its leaders were in the driving seat in the dark moments.

"This is embarrassing for credibility. But, at the same time, there is a second chance. We have the right to change and not be condemned for life."

Cycling has been riddled with a cloud of suspicion ever since Lance Armstrong was stripped of his seven successive Tour victories between 1999 and 2005 for doping offences.

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