Sunday, June 27, 1999 Published at 16:53 GMT 17:53 UK
Cleaning up the peleton
Last year's race saw a sit down protest by riders under siege
The 1998 Tour will be remembered for all the wrong reasons.
The affair was a severe jolt to the French, still celebrating their footballers' World Cup win as the Tour started in Dublin.
The authorities arrested the squad's manager and doctor, and the Tour threw France's top team plus its favourite rider off the race.
Richard Virenque tearfully protested his innocence, and maintains his stance despite a year of scandal for the whole sport.
Voet's book, Massacre a la Chaine has nothing to do with bicycle chains, but uses the French phrase for serial killing.
It reveals the author's role in Festina's drug supply programme from 1994, as he kept a diary of each rider's consumption.
This was not for his memoirs, but to ensure each team member paid his share at the season's end.
The book demonstrates the problem facing the authorities, but what has happened since last August?
Yet this test did not prove that Pantani had taken anything stronger than a cup of cappuccino, since the health check is not a direct way to police its target, the blood-boosting drug EPO.
The state authorities, particularly in France, believe only strong-arm legal tactics can protect younger riders.
Serious health disorder
Some 60% of those tested had "cases of serious biological disorders" while 90% had massive iron levels.
The federation used to justify its clampdown, but their attitude did not impress France's own national champion.
He said tests in Switzerland and Spain should have been enough, reflecting a fragmented approach around Europe.
The message from Spain is that it is a French problem, with Jalabert's ONCE squad particularly concerned by the Paris government handing their police new powers.
The Italians were looking into claims made in football and cycling even before last year's Tour.
And as the debate continues, so do the raids and allegations.
Virenque's protests helped him escape a ban on former Festina collagues, although the UCI curtailed their suspensions so they could race in this year's Tour.
The move sent out a confusing signal, as did the actions of Belgian police who detained riders from the Mapei team as they crossed a race finish line on 1 April.
Many observers thought initial reports were a media April's Fool joke, but no one laughed when a package of drugs apparently addressed to the team was seized by Belgian customs.
At the same time dozens of riders were being questioned in France, along with managers and even the Tour officials themselves.
It was claimed that 50 riders had been treated by Sainz, although some products supplied were homeopathic remedies.
Virenque himself admitted buying vitamins from Sainz and was fined by his new Polti team.
He, along with ONCE officials and the TVM and Vini Caldirola teams are not allowed on this year's Tour.
The genie is well and truly out of the bottle, and allegations such as unproven claims made against Germany's Telekom team are common enough to be treated with no surprise at all.
It is clear that as the last Tour of the century circles France this July, there is a greater distance to travel before the sport cleans up its image.
Tour de France Contents