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Jalabert steps down from Tour de France punditry role

Cycling News
June 25, 2013, 12:18,
June 25, 2013, 13:40
Second Edition Cycling News, Tuesday, June 25, 2013
Laurent Jalabert led a rider protest in the wake of the 1998 Festina affair

Laurent Jalabert led a rider protest in the wake of the 1998 Festina affair

  • Laurent Jalabert led a rider protest in the wake of the 1998 Festina affair
  • French riders Richard Virenque and Laurent Jalabert share a joke at the 1997 race

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Frenchman revealed to have tested positive at 1998 Tour

Laurent Jalabert has stepped down from his role as a television and radio pundit at the Tour de France in the wake of L’Équipe’s allegation that he tested positive for EPO during the 1998 Tour.

According to an article in printed in L’Équipe on Tuesday, retrospective analysis of Jalabert’s urine sample from stage 11 to Plateau de Beille showed that it was consistent with EPO use. The analysis was carried out anonymously by the French Anti-Doping Agency (AFLD) in 2004 but it is understood that Jalabert’s name was recently matched to the sample by a French Senate Commission, which is holding an inquiry into the fight against doping.

“In order to be able to prepare a calm defence when the time comes, I have decided of my own volition to stop my work as a consultant with different media,” Jalabert told AFP on Tuesday.

“I am the subject of revelations that were brought to my attention by way of the press and without any legal element. I don’t want these events to spoil the celebrations for the 100th Tour de France or damage the image of my partners.”

Jalabert was due to cover the Tour as a pundit for France Télévisions, a role he has held since 2011, and with RTL Radio, to whom he has contributed since 2003. Jalabert, who retired from racing in 2002, had also served as coach to the French national team in recent years, but he was not retained in the role this season.

Last month, Jalabert was questioned by the French Senate commission on his experiences of doping in cycling at a hearing in Paris and said that he had never intentionally doped during his spell as world number one in the late 1990s. The commission is due to publish its report during the Tour de France, on July 18.

Eric Blais More than 1 year ago
I wonder what Jalabert is saying in the picture : Ok guys, let Festina take the fall and after that, cycling will be clean for ever,
rastymick More than 1 year ago
D**n it! This really annoys me - Jaja is the best commentator I ever came across (and I'm watching cycling on German, UK and Italian TV) and on top of that he is a super sympathetic guy. Let him do the Tour on France2 & France3 - I don't care if he was part of the 95% of the pros who used PEDs 15 years ago. All the French media are blasting the message: "Oh my god, what a shock... apparently Jalabert used EPO in 98... who would have thought that, unbelievable..." All this hypocrisy around the doping topic really starts getting on my a**. Everyone knows what was going on back then (coaches, riders, journalists, staff, sponsors, team managers...), but everyone is still pretending as if there were only a few black sheep... When the Dutch commission published their report that probably 95% of Dutch riders used PEDs, there was almost no reaction, like: "hang on, if the Dutch did it, shouldn't we assume that the Italian, French, Spanish, Belgian, German... riders did exactly the same???" - Who would be so stupid to assume that large scale doping was purely a Dutch phenomen no reaction from journalists, governing bodies, current teams, riders... In 98, everyone was pointing at Festina - those bad guys, those criminals... how could they dare to betray all other teams... Absolutely nothing changed since than! Fight against doping - laughable. As long as the authorities don't stand up and admit to the public that large scale doping was daily bread in the past (instead of picking out some individuals here and there), we are not moving forward. And once that happens, hundreds of pros will come forward and admit it and talk about it - that's when the problem will be solved. If a rider admits and comes forward today, he will be dragged into the dirt by all media, he will lose his job and gets into all sorts of trouble - no wonder that almost no one wants to talk. If I would have been a talented pro in those years, I would have done what almost everyone did - I would have used PEDs. And I'm absolutely sure, that 95% of you guys reading this here would have done the same if you would have been in this situation.
bikerbruce More than 1 year ago
Yup. Well said. It is a knee jerk reaction. But I remain hopeful that good will come of it, even if in retrospective some took more than their fair share of the blame.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago retrospect, though, some seem to have taken more than their fair share of the magic potion. And ended up with MTTFS of the fame and $$.
Matt Cope More than 1 year ago
well said rastymick. the only sensible way forward is for a T&R as soon as possible to stop this nonsense from carrying on any further. why should only a few of the guilty be punished, and the rest get off. it's time now to accept that almost everyone was guilty, stop retrospectively punishing individuals and deal with the situation properly. and yes, the silence from the peloton, governing bodies, race organisers etc speaks volumes. they really are hoping it will just go away.
Ric Morris More than 1 year ago
Probably something about a sit down strike protesting at all the talk of drugs in the sport and testing of the riders at inopportune moments
philpaque More than 1 year ago
epofuel More than 1 year ago
I wonder who they will get as a replacement? Bassons? He's the only guy who anyone knows who was clean! Poor Jaja, he was an awesome commentator. Very sad. Cycling has only two options...TOTALLY forget the past and get rid of every last rider, or accept that it happend and put an asterisk next to everyone's name. What doesn't work? The sky solution...nobody will ever forget the past.
Lord.Bachus More than 1 year ago
Well, just look at Eurosport, they dismissed Nelissen 2 months after he confessed using doping... and now recently they hires Boogert just 2 months after Michael confessed doping abuse... So much for honesty..
Dr_Stav More than 1 year ago
Races occurred in 1998 and 1999. Testing occurred in 1998 and 1999 with no EPO positives. Retrospective testing occurred in 2004 with these results publishable within months of testing - UCI/ASO would have known very quickly. 8 year stipulations would have expired in 2006 and 2007, therefore the window in which UCI and ADA's should have prosecuted should have been from 2004 to 2006/7. Obvious question, but why has the UCI and ADA's dragged their feet in cross referencing for 9 years, and who has blocked cross referencing?
Lord.Bachus More than 1 year ago
Everyone is dirty and knew about this riders, teams, ASO, ADA, UCI and probably even the IOC... it was to big to reveal back then would have ruined to much, not only for cycling but epescially for all the other sports that don´t have a name for drug and doping abuse... They just covered it up
alexconta More than 1 year ago
your right profesional cycling should be banned for ever!!! they make me sick!!!
azureskies More than 1 year ago
Of course all the agencies, including the IOC knew about the doping. It goes on in all sports. Tygary took it upon himself to destroy Armstrong. Anyone who knows sports knew that the fallout from Armstrongs gullotine would destroy pro cycling. For those who pulled the lever on Armstrong watch pro cyclings' heads' fall.
bikerbruce More than 1 year ago
The test was not an official test in order to potentially impose sanctions. They were merely "testing the test"...wink wink. The real question is, why did the French release the info on Armstrong as soon as it was discovered in 2005 but yet they had the same info on their own JaJa a year prior and withheld it for 9 years?
Terrence Martineau More than 1 year ago
bikerbruce... wrong, wrong and wrong... the French Federation never released anything.. the news paper L'Equipe did and L'equipe didn't have the info on Jalabert... the retrospective analysis of Armstrong's samples are from 1999 (L'Equipe had these results)... Jalavert's tests are from 1998... the tests were done anonymously and each rider was given a number... L'Equipe managed to get a leaked copy of the tests results FOR 1999 ONLY, but couldn't match the riders to their tests... many could be inferred because their placings on a given day were in the records... eg. everyone who was tested in the prologue tested positive for EPO so Armstrong, Escartine and Zulle... they were testing top 3 + one random at the time... L'Equipe were only able to match Armstrong definitively with his samples with a little cloak and dagger work by a L'Equipe reporter... the reporter went to Armstrong and Verbruggen and lied to them, telling them that they wanted to a story about the fact that Lance had not gotten TUE for EPO (a false rumor floating around at the time).. but in order to make the story believable he would need to photocopy the papers that Armstrong had signed after each stage that accompanied his samples which asks if you have any TUEs... Lance and Verbruggen obliged.. only thing is that the number on top of that paper was the same number that was used for the riders results in the retroactive testing.. so you're barking up the wrong tree on all sorts of levels.. A) you've got the year wrong.. LA was 1999 and JaJa was 1998... of which none of this info has ever been released or leaked B) the only rider that L'Equipe was able to get the index number to positively identify his results with his samples was LA.. C) "the french" never released anything... the french news paper L'Equipe managed to piece this together with some contact in labs that leaked the still anonymous results and some fancy field work and deception and stupidity of Armstrong and Verbruggen...
bikerbruce More than 1 year ago
Relax TM. It's going to be ok. France is still a wonderful country full of good people. I appreciate your retelling the story--and it was a great summary--but I am not wrong, wrong, wrong. Only one wrong: the main one. I never said French Federation. It was the French as I said. French lab. French reporter. French newspaper. French senate. French rider. How much more French do you need? Year wrong? Did L'Equipe not release the info on Lance in 2005? That is the only year I mentioned. However, thanks to your scolding, I have re-read the articles and it appears I am wrong about "the French" withholding the info. The article above mentions "...but it is understood that Jalabert's name was recently matched to the sample..." I was misled by the following quote in the first article on this site: "A retroactive inquiry done on Jalabert's urine sample by the French Anti-Doping Agency AFLD in 2004 resulted in the positive EPO test according to L'Equipe. The retroactive testing was part of a French Senate inquiry on how effective the fight against doping has been in France." Thanks for pointing out my error and I'm sure you can understand how a faulty conclusion could be drawn from the above quote.
Terrence Martineau More than 1 year ago
ok.. yeah... I'll give you that.... the quote is ambiguous & misleading at best to down right wrong at worst... hard to tell really what they were actually trying to say...
andrew1991 More than 1 year ago
Everyone should stop looking into the past and should focus on the present. If there are riders that nowadays are dirty of course there will be dirty riders in the past since the tests were less advanced. I would be happier if guys like Santambrogio and di Luca are caught, but instead I am seeing the Anti-Doping Agencys spending most of they time and resources on riders that retired 10 or more years ago. This way they are only destroying most riders heroes and worsening the image of this beautiful sport.
longshadow More than 1 year ago
and now we have to go through this bullish*t game of pretending the didn't know, wondering how the EPO got into his system, looking up in the air with his hand on his chin waxing philosophical about the "old" days of cycling... just pop in any name- Jalabert, Armstrong, Contador, Schleck, blah, blah, blah...
Evan Shaw More than 1 year ago
take the money and run, feign innocence until caught, then use the LA playbook. Please!
Jay Tee More than 1 year ago
My thoughts exactly - Sky has learned from Armstrong's mistakes. Change your winners because the public is both too stupid and have short term memories. The same system is being exploited by those with the most amount of money.
colnago200 More than 1 year ago
Who wasnt - Jalabert, Armstrong, Ullrich, Beloki, Durand, Virenque, Hinault, Lemond, SImpson, Merckx Im just plucking names from the air, but you have to be a fool to think none of them doped - they were all greats in their day
dnicemunchoff More than 1 year ago
Who wasn't? Andy Hampsten. Unsure about Roche & Kelly. Positive Fignon, Pantani & Riis (haha).
alexconta More than 1 year ago
even the dogs that crossed in the way in the tour de france had epo on them!!
dsotherby More than 1 year ago
Greg LeMond? I appreciate the "he won therefore he doped" logic, but there is no evidence to suggest that he doped. Many experts, including Paul Kimmage, the biggest anti-doping evangelist over the past 25 years, believe Greg was clean. Paul isn't one to throw around that kind of praise...
DrBigRing More than 1 year ago
Guess I'll have to switch to a Spanish speaking channel and listen to Indurain.
srsplato More than 1 year ago
This kind of attitude really pisses me off. We have lost so many great names in cycling all because we caught them doping. They all doped, so it was a level playing field. I miss all the greats from the last 20 years.
Mario Rivera More than 1 year ago
Good thing the samples collected only go so far back, otherwise the list of dopers would extend back to the 70's....
philpaque More than 1 year ago
Maybe strip all of the "winners" of their victories and give them to Bassons and the one or two other clean riders.