'The sport is clean,' says former Tour de France winner

Bjarne Riis says cycling has cleaned up its act since the days when he was competing and is almost free of doping today.

Bjarne Riis, the former Tour de France champion, says cycling has cleaned up its act since the days when he was competing and is almost free of doping today. Riis has admitted to using EPO, a mix of growth hormones and cortisone, to win the Tour in 1996. He told the Associated Press yesterday that "drugs were part of cycling in the past but I truly believe today it is very, very little and cycling has become a very clean sport."

Riis declined to comment on doping allegations against seven-time Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong, saying "I am not involved in that or in any investigation regarding that case." US investigators have shown interest in Armstrong since former teammate Floyd Landis alleged that Armstrong and others took performance-enhancing drugs, which Armstrong strongly denies. Meanwhile, Alberto Contador the winner of last month's Tour de France, has signed a two-year deal to race with Team Saxo Bank from next season.

The victory gave the 27-year-old won his third Tour title but he announced last week that he would leave the Astana team at the end of the 2010 season after rejecting their offer of a new contract. Contador will effectively replace the Luxembourg rider, who is to leave the team at the end of 2010, along with his brother Frank. * Agencies