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Tour de France winner so far: A new type of American champion

In the post-Lance Armstrong era, Team Garmin-Cervélo is proving it's possible to win clean. Since the squad pioneered a rigorous internal drug-testing system in 2007, not a single rider has tested positive.

Riders of the Garmin Cervelo cycling team carried team manager Jonathan Vaughters, center, as they celebrated Sunday after winning the second stage of the Tour de France cycling race, a team trial over 14.3 miles starting and finishing in Les Essarts, western France.

Christophe Ena/AP

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A US cycling team that debuted five years ago with the lofty goal of transforming cycling's doping culture is taking the 2011 Tour de France by storm.

Team Garmin-Cervélo won its first-ever stage victory on Sunday, repeated the feat Monday, and is currently No. 1 in the team standings while squad member Thor Hushovd is the overall individual winner so far.

There is little doubt that its riders are clean: the squad has pioneered a rigorous system of drug testing that goes far beyond the mandatory tests imposed by cycling officials. Since the team went pro in 2007, not a single rider has tested positive.

“I am confident that clean riders can win big races,” said team director Jonathan Vaughters after Garmin cyclist Tyler Farrar won Stage 3 on Monday. “The proof is in the pudding. We’ve showed [it's possible.]"

Indeed, in the post-Lance Armstrong era, Garmin-Cervélo is emerging as a new sort of American champion – one that can win at cycling's marquee event without the cloud of doping doubts that has hovered over everyone from seven-time Tour victor Armstrong to this year's favorite, Spaniard Alberto Contador.

Garmin's rigorous drug-testing program

Garmin's success, particularly its unprecedented win on Sunday, is also a landmark moment for Vaughters, a former teammate of Armstrong and an outspoken opponent of doping.


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