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  Wednesday, 26 June, 2002, 20:53 GMT 21:53 UK
Profile: Laurent Jalabert
Laurent Jalabert in action on the Champs Elysee
Jalabert had hinted at retirement this season
Laurent Jalabert will be sorely missed by the French public and the cycling world when he retires at the end of the season.

During an exciting and successful career, he has been a chameleon among elite riders.

When the Frenchman first made his mark in Le Tour it was as a sprinter and his target was obvious - the green jersey.

  Jalabert factfile
DOB: 30.11.68
Nationality: French
Team: Team CSC-Tiscali
Tour best: 1995 - Fourth

He won that, but the prize was not enough for Jalabert, who improved in every aspect of his racing.

He matched many of the leaders in the mountains and finally came to grips with his time trialling technique.

Tour glory eluded him but he did win the Spanish equivalent - La Vuelta and the world time trial championship.

Jalabert was also world number one for much of the 1990s and there is barely a major race he has not won - or at least narrowly missed out on.

But then came controversy.

He refused to race in France after leading a walkout of the Spanish teams from the 1998 Tour, which was famously marred by police raids and drug seizures.

Transformation complete

After splitting from long-term employers ONCE, he regained the affection of the French public in 2001 with Danish team CSC.

First he took a Tour stage on Bastille Day - his second stage win - and finally secured the King of the Mountains prize.

That polka dot jersey - and his 19th place overall - completed his transformation and sealed his reputation among the world's best and most versatile cyclists.

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