Third Edition News for May 12, 1999

Virenque admits to taking drugs

Richard Virenque has finally confessed to the obvious - that he has been using drugs and that he was supplied the dope by two people. Judicial sources in Paris have released this news. Since the scandal erupted during last year's Tour de France, Richard Virenque has denied being involved. Only Pascal Hervé and Neil Stephens have continued to deny that they were not involved in the organised doping that was conducted by the Festina team. Stephens claims he may have been involved but thought the drugs being administered to him were vitamins.

When confronted with the tough Paris narcotics squad, Virenque has now changed his position and has admitted to the fact that Bernard Lavalot and Dr. Mabuse (Bernard Sainz) supplied him with banned substances. He was confronted with telephone tapes that were taken by the police during their investigation. Evidently, he was recorded talking to Sainz about whether he should take a particular substance just before a race.

Virenque left the police office later in the evening and refused to make any comment.

Vandenbroucke faces the sack

VDB said that more than 50 riders in the peloton are working under the guidance of Sainz. He came in touch with Sainz via Gaumont and Lavelot. His father - Jean-Jacques VDB knew Frank has been consulting with Sainz since December 1998.

For using dope, VDB can be disqualified for 6 months. He will also be fired by Cofidis if that occurs. Cofidis manager Alain Bondue said: "If it is discovered that he has been using banned substance - knowingly or not - he will be fired. VDB said if that occurs he hopes to find another team. Speculations say it will be easy for VDB to find a new sponsor, because he is such a young talented rider.

Meanwhile, Eddy Merckx has denied knowing Sainz: :I don't know this Mr Sainz. He never took care of me. I have appeared in photos with thousands and thousands of people. But a Mr Sainz didn't treat me."

It has also been released that Sainz had 2 court sentences for his involvement in drugs in horse racing.

Nico Mattan, a close friend of VDB said: "VDB had good results after the treatment by Mr Sainz."

Mapei doctor Yvan Vanmol worked closely for 4 years with VDB. He said: "Frank isn't stupid, maybe naive. He comes from a cycling family and maybe they believe in getting treatment from sources other than the official doctors. VDB is a victim. I think he missed Lefevere with his hard hands and me with the medical knowledge. And I believe the French cycling environment isn't good. I like the idea that the French need to be cleansed of all this dope."

Vanmol about homoeopathy: "DB don't need anything for winning a classic. I still believe he is the greatest talent. He is the best rider of his generation. And he will come back. He will not be a big star for many years. I know he wants a short path to the top and then to retire. Maybe for 3 years. He can't do a heavy programm for a longer time."

The UCI said if the results of the investigations by drugs squad turn out to implicate VDB it will not necessarily mean an automatic suspension for him. Hein Verbruggen said: "When VDB admits he used doping for a longer period, the UCI can decide to purge his presence in all of the results. VDB has had several drug tests this season and he has not shown any positive readings. In Australia and Sweden, millions are being spent to find a fool proof test for EPO use. The French now are saying that they have found such a EPO test method. It's strange they never informed us. If this is correct then I will be very happy."