Cycling: Jalabert climbs to pole position

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LAURENT JALABERT took his second stage win and regained the overall lead in the Tour de Romandie in Switzerland yesterday, breaking away on the long final climb to finish nine seconds ahead of Italy's Leonardo Piepoli.

The Frenchman, who won Tuesday's prologue near Geneva, took the lead in the last and steepest 5km before the finish in Moleson. It was his seventh stage win this season.

Jalabert gained a four-second advantage in the overall standings, displacing the overnight leader, Gabriele Missaglia, of Italy. Missaglia arrived at Moleson in a group of riders who finished 26 seconds behind Jalabert. The riders face a 66.6km time trial today, starting from nearby Bulle. The race ends on Sunday in Geneva.

In Jalabert's home country, the notebooks meticulously recording the illegal drugs given to members of the Festina team have been turned over to a judge, the lawyer for Festina's former masseur said yesterday. Jean- Louis Bessis said the notebooks kept by his client, the Belgian Willy Voet, were given to the investigating magistrate, Patrick Keil, leading an investigation into illegal drug use in French cycling.

The judge had been seeking the additional notebooks since obtaining one that was seized by investigators last July when Voet, 54, was first taken into custody when the drugs scandal hit the Tour de France. Voet has since been formally placed under investigation on suspicion of importing banned substances.

The notebooks' contents could prove embarrassing for Festina's Richard Virenque and Pascal Herve, the only members of the team to have denied taking steroids, growth hormones or the red blood cell booster EPO. Festina were thrown off last year's Tour de France after the team director Bruno Roussel confessed to an "organised doping system".