Cycling: Leblanc calls for new code of conduct for Tour

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THE RACE director of the Tour de France, Jean-Marie Leblanc, said yesterday that future competitors would have to adhere to a new code of conduct.

"We'll release a code of conduct and ethics to which the teams will have to adhere," Leblanc said. "If a team on Tour is guilty of bad conduct, it will immediately be challenged."

In total, seven people have been placed under investigation on drug-related charges during the Tour. Among them were three officials of the Festina team, two from TVM, a doctor from ONCE and one rider, Italy's Rodolfo Massi of Casino.

Leblanc expressed hope that the Tour would emerge stronger as a result of the drug scandal, saying teams would now have to "examine their consciences".

Spanish riders have pulled out of the women's Tour de France in protest at the doping investigations. "We take this measure because of the poor treatment received by Spanish cyclists and teams in the Tour de France," the Spanish cycling federation said in a statement.

"It's a test of solidarity for fear that the same incidents will occur in other races and that will only contribute to damage the image of cycling."