Jalabert closed the door!

On the front line as the slings groaned among the riders of the 1998 Tour de France, Laurent Jalabert and Once decided to leave the Grande Boucle on July 29 with three other Spanish teams. Result of police custody of TVM runners last night.

Laurent Jalabert was rarely at the party during the French Championships. It is difficult for him to fight, alone or close, against the French teams. The Once rider nevertheless won the grail in June 1998 and happily wore the blue-white-red jersey on the roads of the Tour de France. However, his happiness was ruined.

Also read: Doping: Groupama-FDJ talks

“I’m happy to do the Tour with this jersey, especially because I’m going well. But the events made it a joy for no one. It’s not what I thought at all, he said at the beginning of the summer in Ouest-France in reference to the doping cases that damaged the Grande Boucle and led to the participation of the Festina team then the withdrawal of Banesto or Once. One regret yes… The atmosphere was really special. Under these conditions, the jersey, tricolor or not, does not change anything. The race is not that important compared to everything else… It doesn’t matter what color the jersey is, the fun is not there. »

The scandal began even before the start of the Tour de France when Willy Voet, a trainer of the Festina team, was arrested by French customs at the wheel of his car with, in the trunk, more than four hundred bottles of doping products and narcotics (235 ampoules of EPO, 120 capsules of amphetamine, 82 solutions of growth hormone, 60 vials of testosterone and corticosteroids). During the 7e stage, the Festina formation, led by Richard Virenque, was not included in the Tour.

We were treated with no respect

But the doping business did not stop there. The riders of the Dutch TVM team were thus taken into custody on the night between 16e and 17e step after the discovery of doping products in a team car on the previous rest day, which provoked the anger of the peloton. The riders decided the next day to go on strike, leading to the cancellation of the stage. Symbolically, the peloton crossed the finish line in Aix-les-Bains, with four TVM riders on the front line.

And if Jeroen Blijlevens, the TVM sprinter, is behind the strike, the ONCE formation with Laurent Jalabert as the leader is on the front line. “We are treated without the slightest respect and we can’t react. Because we can’t do anything, because we don’t have anything. Now, we will prove again that we can’t handle our responsibilities.”thundered Manolo Saint, the team manager. “In Tarascon, he said, I wanted to speak and I saw myself as a fool. It was like I was being followed. It’s a little late to stop everything. It’s unfair to Pantani, Ullrich” engaged to Laurent Jalabert.

I don’t want to continue in these conditions

However, while the start was finally given normally, Mazamétain was one of the first to stop and pick up his bib on the shores of Lake Annecy, followed shortly after by Marco Pantani. And when the rest of the peloton finally hit the road, ONCE decided to leave the Tour de France, then imitated by three other Spanish teams, including Banesto, or Luc Leblanc, heard by the police at night.

“I don’t want to continue in these conditions. Sick of constant suspicion. And it’s not by driving at 20 km/h that we can be heard and change something. Some are affected by this problem, others didn’t understand anything. For them, it was like a day off. We had opportunities to be heard, we didn’t seize them. I’m going. It’s up to others to take their responsibilities.” he confided, adding: “You have to understand that others are not free in their decision. Me, I am lucky that my sponsor and my sports director understand.

Also read:Doping: Jumbo-Visma “scary”Revolution in the Tour de FranceDavid Gaudu’s “extraordinary performance”.

When the Tour de France finally ends, crowning Marco Pantani, most of the riders of this edition will finally be convinced of doping by the EPO, the senatorial commission of inquiry established on the effectiveness of the fight against doping published a report. in July 2013 including the list of runners who tested positive for EPO. A list in which Laurent Jalabert appears.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.