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Tuesday, 24 October, 2000, 14:44 GMT 15:44 UK
'Festina Affair': A timeline
Richard Virenque
Virenque's admission comes two years after the scandal broke
BBC Sport Online takes a closer look at the Festina Affair and the events leading up to one of the controversies threatening to put a cloud over the sport of cycling.

  • 8 July 1998:
    Customs officials in Neuville-en-Ferrain, northern France, stop Festina team masseur Willy Voet. They are found to be carrying 400 bottles and capsules of doping products three days before the Tour de France cycle race is set to begin in Dublin.

  • 10 July 1998:
    A judicial inquiry into the importation and illegal circulation of contraband items begins. Authorities question Voet, who is jailed in Loos, northern France, for two weeks.

  • 17 July 1998:
    Police question Festina team sports director Bruno Roussel and doctor Eric Rijckaert. Roussel admits that the Festina team used doping under medical supervision. Tour de France director Jean-Maire Leblanc bans the cyclists from the Tour de France.

  • 23 July 1998:
    Nine Festina cyclists are detained at Lyon police headquarters and given medical exams. Team members Richard Virenque and Pascal Herve are the only ones who do not admit to taking drugs.

  • 24 July 1998:
    A leg of the Tour de France is delayed for two hours after cyclists strike over the doping affair. Rijckaert denies doping allegations.

  • 29 July 1998:
    Tour de France organizers cancel the Albertville-Aix-les-Bains stage after cyclists protest investigations into other teams. Corticoids are found in Italian cyclist Rodolfo Massi's room.

  • 31 July 1998:
    Authorities question Massi and Spanish doctor Nicolas Terrados about breaking the 1989 anti-doping law. They later drop all charges against Massi.

  • September 2000:
    Chemist Christine Paranier and her husband Eric are suspected of supplying illegal doping products to Voet. Jeff D'Hont, who works as a trainer for another French cycling team, is questioned and jailed for 11 days. In an interview with a French newspaper, Voet accuses Virenque of doping.

  • October 2000:
    Virenque insists he did not use drugs and calls himself "an innocent victim" in a confrontation with Voet and Rijckaert in Lille.

  • November 2000:
    Results of a 23 July medical exam show that eight of the nine Festina cyclists, including Virenque, used the banned substance EPO and four used amphetamines.

  • December 2000:
    Authorities question Terrados about importing illegal medication.

  • January to April 1999:
    Logistics director Joel Chabiron, who is in charge of Festina communications, is questioned. Authorities question Festina trainer Jean-Marie Dalibot. Authorities question Virenque about using and administering doping products. He denies the accusations.

    Police question Tour de France director Jean-Marie Leblanc.

    Tour vice-president Roger Legeay and French cycling federation president Daniel Baal are questioned about violating 1989 anti-doping laws. Both are cleared in mid-June.

  • October 2000
    The Festina trial opens in Lille and is expected to last three weeks. Virenque admits he took performance-enhancing substances.
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    See also:

    24 Oct 00 |  Other Sports
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