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Saturday, July 11, 1998 Published at 01:35 GMT 02:35 UK

Tour rocked by drugs arrest

Festina's Richard Virenque at the pre-tour health check

French police have arrested a man said to be working for one of the leading teams in the Tour de France after discovering anabolic steroids in his car.

The man was arrested when customs officiers stopped the car on the France-Belgium border at Neuville-en-Ferrain.

The vehicle was festooned with Tour de France logos and was marked with Festina emblems.

However the Director of Festina, Bruno Roussel, has denied all knowledge of the man, or the car.

Speaking in Dublin, where the tour is gathering for its three-day prologue, he said he had no news of any members of his team being arrested and said that every team vehicle and official was already in Ireland.

"Nobody is missing and all our cars are accounted for," he said.

Festina, whose riders include Richard Virenque of France and Alex Zulle and Laurent Dufaux of Switzerland, are among the favourites for the tour.

Police have confirmed the car was driven by a French national - but they have not named the arrested man.

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In this section

Tour tarnished by drugs scandal

Pirate takes yellow treasure

The Pirate hangs on

Backstedt sprints into history

Two more charged with Tour doping

Riders fear truth warn authorities

Drugs scandal widens

Steels snatches sprint victory

Tour reaches new low

Obree: I was offered drugs on Tour

Ullrich edges out Pantani

Bigmat joins Tour drugs scandal

Pirate captures yellow jersey

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Nardello escapes the pack

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Steels claims stage win

Riders' protest delays Tour de France

Festina riders detained in doping row