By Tim Maloney, cyclingnews.com correspondent
Bruno Roussel, former manager of Festina has just published his new book "Tour de Vices" and already his tell-all is dredging up ugly memories of the "affaire Festina" and the tumult of the '98 Tour De France. Not only has Roussel gone into detail about how Dr. Erik Rijkaert, the Dutch doctor of Team Festina managed the systematic doping of the team, but his 222 page tome also exposes the practice of "selling" races.
Excerpted in Le Monde on June 19, Roussel relates how Richard Virenque "bought" his stage win at Courchevel in '97 from then Maillot Jaune for FF100,000 ($17,000)... according to Roussel, Virenque said to Ullrich "Tu me laisses gagner, OK?" (You'll let me win, OK) and then decided on a price.
However, Virenque, interviewed in Le Monde, denied any awareness of Roussel's allegations.
"En tout cas, se souvient-il, si, ce jour-lÓ, on doit arriver au sprint, il n'y a pas photo entre Ullrich et moi. J'Útais meilleur que lui." ("In any case," (Virenque) remembered, "we were going to finish in a sprint between Ullrich and me. I was better than him."
According to another part of Roussel's exposÚ, Virenque might have been able to win the '97 Tour De France during the stage in the Vosges Mountains when Ullrich was having a bad day. Virenque was ahead of the struggling Ullrich with some big names like Olano and Pantani. The then Festina man tried to buy the collaboration of the break to get rid of Ullrich, but the cash Virenque offered, FF10,000 (US$1,700) was evidently too little to tempt the big names help the unpopular Virenque gain control of the Tour De France.
Roussel related that these big names up front with Virenque asked to split a lot more money to ride (500,000FF/$85,000) than Virenque offered. And Roussel also relates how Laurent Dufaux "bought" a stage from then Maillot Jaune Bjarne Riis in the 1996 Tour.
Despite the lack of credibility of Roussel and the sensational nature of this tell-all tattler, his accusations can only further damage the already cracked image of professional cycling.
As Tour de Suisse prologue winner Lance Armstrong headed to the Press Room aboard his bike at the Europa Park in Rust, Germany, his broad smile and those of the Tour de Suisse press staffers who were accompanying the USPS rider to the post race press conference quickly turned to frowns as they approached the press room.
A Europa Park security guard stopped Armstrong and his Tour de Suisse press entourage, saying brusquely "You can't go in (to the press center) with your bicycle."
A puzzled Armstrong replied "I'm Lance Armstrong!" but that didn't impress the staunch security guard. "It doesn't matter...you can't go in," the guard insisted.
Although the Tour de Suisse press staff explained clearly, Herr Guard had to keep Europa Park safe from the invasion of Armstrong and maintained his vigilant post at the entrance to the press area. Lance eventually got fed up and turned around and rode his bike back to the hotel, while Europa Park's security staff quickly relaxed their Defcon 3 posture and the Tour de Suisse press staff attempted to wipe the egg off their face.
Major Races and Events
September 7-29, 2002: Vuelta a Espa˝a (GT) - Preview, stage list
May 11-June 2, 2002: Giro d'Italia (GT) - Preview, stage list, photos
July 6-28, 2002: Tour de France (GT) - Full preview & official route details
December 8: Superprestige Rd 5 (Cat. 1) - Erwin Vervecken
November 29-December 4: Six Days of Noumea (6D) - Sassone/Neuville victorious
November 26-December 1: Six Days of Zurich (6D) - Day 6 - McGrory/Gilmore/Schnider win
December 1: Melbourne Cup on Wheels (IM) - Scott Moller, Keirin, Sprint, Support races
December 2: Cyclo-cross World Cup #2 (CDM) - Sven Nijs again
November 24-December 3: Juegos Deportivos Centroamericanos (JR) - Final results
December 8-9: Frankfurter Rad-Cross (Cat. 2) - Alex Mudroch, UK National Trophy Series #4 (Cat. 3) - Roger Hammond, Grote Prijs Industrie Bosduin - Kalmthout (Cat. 1) - Bart Wellens, Int. Radquer Obergösgen (Cat. 2) - Bj÷rn Rondelez, Trofeo Mamma e Papa Guerciotti (Cat. 3) - Enrico Franzoi, Premio Egondo (Cat 3) - David Seco, Irish cyclo-cross championships - Robin Seymour
Results: local racing
Australia - CycleWest Promotions Omnium Series #2, Eastern Suburbs Summer Criterium Series, Carnegie Caulfield Tuesday criterium, Southern Cross Junior Track Open & Madison Cup, Manly Warringah CC, George Town Track Carnival, Carnegie Caulfield CC, Randwick Botany CC, Gold Coast CATS CC, Caesar's Illawarra CC, Caesar's Illawarra (track)
Denmark - Danish cyclo-cross Post Cup #3
Italy - Gran Premio CittÓ di Bassano
Luxembourg - GP De Kopstal
New Zealand - Cyco Criterium series
Spain - Elorrio cyclo-cross
USA - Georgia Cross Series Championship, Chimborazo Grand Prix cyclo-cross, Boulder Cross Rd 6, New Mexico State Cyclo-x Champs, Sorrento Cyclo-x & California State Champ's, Boulder Cross Rd 5, Verge New England series, Northampton CC Cyclo-cross Championships, Chris Cross International CycloCross
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