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Tour de France Tuesday, 28 July, 1998, 20:02 GMT 21:02 UK
Bigmat joins Tour drugs scandal
The widening drugs scandal has cast a cloud over this year's Tour
The widening drugs scandal has cast a cloud over this year's Tour
A third team has become embroiled in the Tour de France drugs scandal.

Police have seized suspect medication in a van driven by officials of the Bigmat team in Chambery, on the Franco-Swiss border near Albertville.

Around 100 doses of medication were found in briefcases among the team's bags during a routine inspection by customs officials, police said.

France Info radio, citing unidentified judicial sources, reported that the medication was a banned substance.

TVM officials investigated

TVM doctor, Andrei Mikhailov, contests having adminstered banned drugs to the team
TVM doctor, Andrei Mikhailov, denies having administered banned drugs to the team
Earlier, two senior officials from a Dutch team TVM were placed under formal investigation, following a court hearing in the northern town of Reims.

Both men have been kept in provisional custody, officials said.

Police say they found evidence of used drugs during a search of the team's hotel. The two TVM officials - sporting director, Cees Priem, and team doctor, Andrei Mikhailov - both deny the charge.

Police also raided the hotel of team after the 16th stage on Tuesday and took assistant director Hendrick Redant and four riders away for questioning.

TVM came under the spotlight when it emerged that EPO, a performance-enhancing drug, had been found in the car of one of its officials in March.

Festina director released

Bruno Roussel, the director of the Festina team thrown out of the Tour for doping, has been released from custody.

Roussel was one of three team members placed under investigation on July 17 after confessing that team members and medical staff made doping substances available to riders.

Festina's masseur Willy Voet has already been released from jail while team doctor Eric Ryckaert remains imprisoned.

The news came as two former riders with the Festina team, Emmanuel Magnien and Gilles Bouvard, are reported to have told police that they were given performance-enhancing drugs during their time with the team.

"There is no doubt that all the former cyclists at Festina will be interrogated," said the main prosecutor Gerald Vinsonneau.

The TVM team
Tour officials say the TVM team will be sent home if they have broken the rules
The Festina team has already been expelled from the race after their team director and doctor confessed to organising doping. Since then several riders have confessed to taking banned drugs.

Pointing to the Festina investigation the deputy prosecutor in the TVM case, Philippe Lamousne, said the two incidents were very different because there was no evidence of an organised doping ring in the TVM team and none of the riders have been charged.

See also:

28 Jul 98 | Tour de France
28 Jul 98 | Tour de France
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