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Tour de France Cycling News for July 1, 2004

Edited by Jeff Jones

Gorka Gonzalez out

Euskaltel-Euskadi hasn't gotten off to a good start in the Tour de France, after Gorka Gonzalez failed a blood test on Thursday morning. Gonzalez was the only one of the 189 riders tested between 7:20 and 9:30am who was declared "unfit to start" due to a high hematocrit. He will be forced out of competition for two weeks.

Euskaltel-Euskadi will now begin the Tour with just eight riders rather than bringing a reserve, a decision which could affect team leader Iban Mayo, particularly in the team time trial.

Armstrong book decision on Friday

A Parisian court decision on whether Lance Armstrong will be able to force the publishers of L.A. Confidential to insert a statement from him denying the charges of doping contained in the book will now be made on Friday, just a day before the start of the Tour in Liege. Armstrong's lawyers pled their case to the Court of Appeals in Paris on June 30 after their initial case had been dismissed on June 21.

"This is slanted journalism, not investigative," said one of Armstrong's lawyers Donald Manasse to AFP. Another, Christian Charričre-Bournazel, said that the book's authors had "passionately mocked the rights of Lance Armstrong from the start...They wanted to bring down Lance Armstrong [with] a well oiled conspiracy."

However, the book's lawyer Thibault de Montbrial claims that this is the price to be paid for ignoring the set of questions that the authors had sent to Armstrong shortly before the book's publication.

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(All rights reserved/Copyright Knapp Communications Pty Limited 2004)

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