Laurent Jalabert “surprised” after reports of positive samples from 1998 Tour de France
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Monday, June 24, 2013

Laurent Jalabert “surprised” after reports of positive samples from 1998 Tour de France

by VeloNation Press at 4:13 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Tour de France, Doping
 
“I've always trusted the medical staff of the team,” says former French champion

laurent jalabertReported today to have used EPO during the 1998 Tour de France, Laurent Jalabert has stopped short of a clear denial, saying instead that he wanted people to believe in him.

“I do not disagree because I do not have the information,” he told RTL after L’Equipe earlier reported that the re-examination of his samples had revealed EPO. “I do not know on what L'Equipe based this.”

Regarding the mention of the dope doctor Eufemiano Fuentes in that article, he dismissed this part of the story. “I can tell you that I never had dealings with Dr. Fuentes. He joined the team before I arrived and I've never dealt with him. We need everyone to step back. Cycling is the most controlled sport. The [doping] controls, geolocation, and soon DNA tests. People wish harm to me but know that I am a serious person, I have a real passion for cycling and I ask you to believe me.”

Jalabert was responding to a report earlier today by L’Equipe, which said that reanalysis of urine samples taken from him in 1998 had revealed the presence of EPO.

These retests were originally carried out by the AFLD in 2004, but the names remained anonymous. However the ongoing French Senate enquiry into the fight against doping caused the necessary information to be made available, which enabled the cross referencing of the sample codes with the rider’s name and thus exposed Jalabert.

Jalabert was a member of the ONCE team at the time, a squad widely suspected of using banned substances. Originally a sprinter, he made a mid-career jump in level and took numerous stage races, including the 1995 Vuelta a España.

He recently testified before the Senate enquiry and said he never willingly took doping substances. Today’s story appears to raise further doubts about that, although he continued to insist that he simply trusted in the team doctors at the time. The insinuation is that if EPO or any other substances were in his system, it is their fault rather than his.

“Surprised,” he said, when asked for his response. “That was my first reaction because I did not expect this. Certainly I raced in the 90s, but I've always trusted the medical staff of the team and I've never had an outside doctor.

“I heard the news like you today. The L'Equipe newspaper called me an hour before the publication to tell me the news. And I was surprised because when I spoke to the senate committee, I was never mentioned in the controlled samples from the 98 Tour. This is still a difficult year for me and with that, my reputation is tarnished.”

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