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Tour de France Saturday, 25 July, 1998, 14:58 GMT 15:58 UK
Tour safe - for now
 Daniel Baal met Laurent Jalabert
ICU Vice-President Daniel Baal met leading riders before the 13th stage
The 13th stage of the the Tour de France is going ahead after crisis talks and despite continuing doubt surrounding the participation of the Dutch TVM team for alleged doping offences.

Talks on Saturday morning between tour officials and top riders decided that no drastic measures were needed now.

However it was agreed that at the end of the season a meeting between the riders and the International Cycling Union will discuss drug testing and measures that may be needed to put the sport's house in order.

The TVM team was placed under formal investigation on Friday. The team's director and doctor will be charged on Monday over the seizure of substances in a hotel and the discovery of drugs in a team car in March.

Organisers of the Tour de France say the TVM team will be expelled from the competition if there is firm evidence that members have used performance-enhancing drugs.

Prosecutors said police seized drugs of unknown origin in hotel rooms and cars used by TVM team members.

The fate of the TVM team is now in serious doubt. The Festina team was expelled from the race last week.

Brief boycott

On Friday the riders staged a protest, delaying the start of the race by 45 minutes.

The protest followed the expulsion of the Festina team, including leading French rider Richard Virenque, from the Tour after a team car was found to be carrying illegal performance-enhancing substances.

But after a meeting with race director Jean-Marie Leblanc, who talked with riders and team officials in an attempt to break the impasse, the 139-mile stage to Cap D'Agde finally began in Tarascon-Sur-Ariege 45 minutes late.

The riders trundled through the first 10 miles of the stage before the racing began in earnest.

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BBC News
BBC's Simon Brotherton reports on the talks
BBC News
BBC News' Ishbel Matheson reports on the riders' go slow
See also:

23 Jul 98 | Tour de France
23 Jul 98 | Tour de France
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