Read more of Scott's story on BBC Sport
Because Mercier, 44, was the US Postal rider who resisted the pressure to dope.
To do so, he had to turn down the offer of a new contract with the team and quit the sport he loved.
He can still clearly remember the day he made up his mind, in May 1997, at the age of 28, after a conversation with the team's doctor, Pedro Celaya.
"Pedro called each member of the team into his hotel room, one by one. When my turn came, he handed me a bag containing a bottle of green pills and several vials of clear liquid.
"I was also given a 17-day training schedule and each day had either a dot or a star. A dot represented a pill and a star was an injection.
"He said 'they're steroids, you go strong like bull'. Then he said 'put it in your pocket, if you get stopped at customs say it's B vitamins'.
"That was when I decided I didn't want to be a pro cyclist any more. I got home and decided 'no thank you'.
"I love cycling, it's a beautiful sport, but it would have been very challenging for me to look someone in the eye and say I was clean when I knew I wasn't.
"People talk about the health aspects, but to be totally honest I wasn't so concerned about that.
"For me, it was the lying and the hypocrisy."