Riders from six French and the two German teams competing in this year's Tour de France protested against doping before the start of Stage 16 in Orthez At the moment that the gun was fired, signaling the start of the stage, the riders from the eight squads allowed the other riders to pass as they remained on the start line. After a few moments they rode away under a shower of applause from on lookers.
The teams involved in the protest included were Cofidis, which has since been thrown out of the event, AG2R, Agritubel, Bouygues Telecom, Crédit Agricole, Française des Jeux, Gerolsteiner, and T-Mobile. They were reacting to the positive doping control of Alexandre Vinokourov, whose team was asked to leave the Tour the previous day.
The protest followed a sign from spectators, who booed Rabobank's then yellow jersey Michael Rasmussen, who was sacked by his team, as he signed the start list.