Cycling: Threat by Spanish to skip Tour

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THE SPANISH teams ONCE and Banesto have threatened to boycott this year's Tour de France over fears that the race may face the same problems as last year, with police making widespread searches and arrests over drug-taking.

"We will not be competing in the Tour only for us to pull out again," Jose Miguel Echavarri, the Banesto sporting director, said. "Maybe it would be better to give the Tour a miss this year."

The fallout from last year's Tour is still very much in evidence, with the former Festina rider Richard Virenque currently being questioned in Lille, while the Cofidis riders Frank Vandenbroucke and Philippe Gaumont are under investigation and will not be allowed to compete until the findings are published.