Tour De France: Diary of a troubled Tour

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The Independent Online
8 July: Willy Voet, Belgian physio with Festina, detained by French police after customs officers find steroids and other performance- enhancing drugs in his team car in northern France. Police raid Festina headquarters near Lyons.

10 July: Voet kept in custody. Bruno Roussel, Festina director, denies team are involved in drugs.

11 July: Police say more than 400 vials, pills and capsules of anabolic steroids and the performance-enhancing agent EPO (which improves stamina by increasing red blood cell production) found in Voet's car.

14 July: Voet admits buying the products under orders from Festina, whose doctor, Eric Rickaert, vehemently denies any knowledge.

15 July: Rickaert and Roussel held for questioning.

16 July: Roussel suspended by the International Cycling Union.

17 July: Rickaert and Roussel held in jail. Roussel's lawyer says his client has admitted to systematic and organised drug-taking in the team. Festina expelled from Tour.

23 July: Three officials from TVM team detained by police after breakfast raid in connection with drugs seizure from a TVM car in March. All nine Festina riders questioned by police.

24 July: Riders protest by refusing to start the 12th stage, delaying the race by two hours. The world champion Laurent Brochard, of Festina, admits using EPO for two years.

26 July: The Festina rider Alex Zulle claims pressure from sponsors led him to take EPO.

27 July: Marco Pantani turns in one of the greatest rides in Tour history to take command in the Alps.

28 July: Big Mat-Auber become third team to be embroiled in scandal when suspect substances were found in a team van. TVM riders taken by police to hospital for lengthy tests. TVM team hotel raided.

29 July: "Black Wednesday". Riders coast through 17th stage as a protest. Team hotels of Once, Banesto, Casino and Polti searched. Casino director Vincent Lavenu and Once doctor Nicola Terrado held for questioning. Once's leading rider, Laurent Jalabert quits, followed by his team. Banesto and Riso-Scotti teams pull out.

30 July: Remaining two Spanish teams, Kelme and Vitalicio, quit.

31 July: TVM pull out of Tour.

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