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Cycling News and Analysis

Second Edition News for July 29, 1998

The drugs scandal update

TVM is real strife

TVM is now in a state of total chaos. First of all, earlier this evening the assistant manager, Hendrik Redant and the driver of the TVM car were taken into custody by police for questioning over the drugs scandal.

There were questions being asked as to whether the team would have support in the morning for Stage 17.

But then the investigators seized the cars and the truck of the team in front of the rider's hotel in Albertville. The police arrived at 18.10 to the hotel Million and then came back 2 hours later.

They told press reporters, who by now were congregating around the hotel, that they did not find anything. They then took in the sprinter Jeroen Blijlevens, Bart Voskamp, Serguei Outschakov, and Serguei Ivanov and took them to hospital for blood and hair tests. According to medical authorities the hair tests can tell whether EPO has been used.

The police also took in three cases, a sport's bag and a dustbin bag for further examination.

And then soon after, the whole TVM squad including Servais Knaven and Steven De Jongh were also taken into custody and were escorted to the local hospital for extensive drug tests.

As I type, there is a police cordon around the hospital and the press are outside waiting to find out the next step.

It is now doubtful whether TVM will start in tomorrow's 17th stage.

Brochard and his Rainbow Jersey

The UCI will not take the World Championship jersey off Laurent Brochard because there is nothing in the rules to allow them to act on a confession that drugs have been used. Martin Bruin, the President of the Tour de France Jury, told the press tonight (Tuesday) that: "The UCI cannot make sanctions on events retrospective. One can sanction a rider only from the moment that the offence is proven or admitted. In the case of Laurent Brochard, it will rest with his heart and conscience. But we cannot prohibit him wearing the World Championship shirt. If he decides not to wear it, given what has happened recently then he won't."

Following investigations by police over the Festina scandal, Brochard had admitted that he has used illegal drugs including EPO but did not say from when the offences occurred. All the riders will be dealt with by their national federations.