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Cycling doping procedures under review in Britain

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Posted: Thursday September 24, 1998 03:59 PM

  The recent doping investigation in the Tour de France have caused several British groups to prevent the scandals from coming close to home AP

LONDON (CNN/SI) -- The Scandal surrounding this year's Tour De France has resulted in the UK Sports Council joining forces with the British Cycling Federation in an effort to review Britian's anti-drug efforts in cycling.

UK Sports Council chairman David Chesterton said the reputation of the sport internationally had been tarnished by drugs allegations during the Tour de France.

The widespread use of performance enhancing drugs, particularly Erythropoietin (EPO), among professional cyclists was exposed before the Tour de France started when a medical staff member of the Festina team was caught by customs officials with banned performance enhancing drugs in his car.

The controversy has effectively overshadowed the tour, as Festina was expelled and an additional five teams have withdrew from the event. Cyclists have also participated in strikes in two stages in order to protest police treatment.

French police have detained several people involved in the event and ransacked the luggage of competing cyclists during drug raids.

Chesterton said the review aimed to restore public confidence in the sport in Britain by examining the adequacy of the current anti-doping program.

"While we have a doping program respected the world over, we must not be complacent," he said.

British Cycling Federation President Brian Cookson said he had been "appalled and dismayed" by drug revelations during the tour de France.

"I don't believe that there is a significant problem on the home scene but I am anxious to ensure that British cycling is drug free," he said.

No British cyclist is competing on the tour since Chris Boardman crashed out while wearing the leader's yellow jersey during the second stage near Cork, Ireland, on July 13.

Graeme Obree, a two-time world record holder in the one-hour event, said Wednesday he was cut from a team before the 1995 Tour de France for refusing to take performance enhancing drugs.

The Scottish cyclist, who said the sport had a "culture of the needle," has never been invited back to compete in the tour.  

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1998 Tour de France
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The Associated Press contributed to this report.