1998 Tour de France positives named: Big name riders implicated in EPO use
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Wednesday, July 24, 2013

1998 Tour de France positives named: Big name riders implicated in EPO use

by VeloNation Press at 7:58 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Doping
Results will not be changed after retests show identities of doping riders

Marco PantaniSome of the biggest names in the 1998 Tour de France have had their achievements in that already-blighted race officially diminished by the publication today of the French Senate report into doping.

Comparing analysis code numbers for various riders plus the results themselves [see this excellent graph on VeloRooms – ed.], the report essentially confirms that the first two riders in the overall standings were positive for EPO under retests carried out in 2004.

The final overall winner Marco Pantani [pictured] failed tests on stages eleven and fifteen, the former to Plateau de Beille and the latter being his celebrated stage win to Les Deux Alpes. He also fell foul of testing on the following day’s stage to Albertville, where he was second to Ullrich.

The latter was positive when the yellow jersey was tested on stages twelve and fourteen, and also failed a test while in the best young rider’s jersey on the final stage. In addition to that, he had suspicious samples when winning the stage seven time trial and taking the aforementioned stage to Albertville.

In addition to those two riders, yellow jersey wearer Laurent Desbiens, stage winners Jens Hepper, Jerome Blijlevens, Mario Cipollini and Jacky Durand, runners-up Erik Zabel and Nicola Minali and third-place stage finishers Fabio Sacchi were positive.

A number of other riders were also random tested and samples taken here would later reveal EPO. Andrea Tafi, Marcos Serrano, Udo Bolts, Eddy Mazzoleni, Laurent Jalabert, Kevin Livingston, Bo Hamburger, Abraham Olano and Manuel Beltran were part of this list.

Meanwhile an additional group of competitors had suspicious samples during the race. Stage winners Tom Steels and Stuart O’Grady, runner-up Zanini and third placed finisher Michael Boogerd are listed, plus so too randoms Ermanno Brignoli, Udo Bolts, Alain Turicchia, Xabier Jan, Frederic Moncassin, Pascal Chanteur, Giuseppe Calcaterra and Axel Merckx.

Several other samples are a little unclear as to their status. Stage runner-up Stephane Barthe and third-place stage finisher Roland Meier have been variously described as positive or suspicious; the results were not quite clear cut as regards what category they should be in.

As for Bobby Julich, who was third overall, was listed under ‘indetectible’ (undetectable); the explanation for that is not clear. He admitted the use of EPO between August 1996 and July 1998, saying he stopped when confronted about it by his fiancée during the 1998 Tour.

The Senate said that no results would be removed on the basis of the report’s findings.

Note: See VeloRooms’s graph here:


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