Festina's team director freed from jail
Posted: Tuesday July 28, 1998 04:19 PM
LYON, France (CNN/SI) -- Bruno Roussel, team director of the French cycling team Festina was released from jail pending a possible trial, judicial sources said Tuesday.
Eric Ryckaert the team doctor who was imprisoned at the same time as Roussel is still in jail.
Willy Voet the team masseur who was the individual initially taken into custody after he was found with over 400 vials of banned drugs in his possession has already been released.
Under the French legal system, being placed under investigation does not automatically mean a suspect will ultimately face trial.
The Festina team was expelled from this year's Tour de France after Roussel admitted that drugs had been made available to the cyclists.
Festinas masseur Willy Voet has already been released from jail while team doctor Eric Ryckaert remains imprisoned.
Several Festina riders have confessed to taking banned products, including Laurent Dufaux who told the newspaper LEquipe, for its Tuesday issue, that police had overwhelming evidence of drug taking and administering in the team.
The release of Roussel came on the same day as the director and doctor of the Dutch TVM team were officially placed under investigation, also on suspicion of breaking the law on doping.
Court sources in Reims said director Cees Priem and team doctor Alexandrei Mikhailov were detained temporarily.
They are both under investigation for a breach of the law on doping and the customs law.
Mikhailov's lawyer said he formally disputed any charge of illegal administration of drugs.
"Doctor Mikhailov formally contests having administered any doping products to the riders of TVM. An evaluation of the seized substances has been called for and the results and analysis should be known next Monday," said Philippe Gombert.
The two men were taken into custody after police seized medication in hotel rooms and in cars used by TVM team members.
The deputy prosecutor of Reims said the TVM and Festina cases were very different because there was no evidence of an organized doping ring in the TVM team.
"We do not have in Reims, unlike the Festina case, any seizure of anabolic or doping products. The riders have not been charged. Thats why Festina is not TVM and TVM is not Festina," Philippe Lamousne told journalists.Tour de France officials have said TVM would be expelled from the race if proven to have broken anti-doping rules.
Reuters contributed to this report.
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