Bouyer without a team

French pro riders support Bouyer at the 2006 Cholet-Pays De Loire: "An innocent man pays for the cheaters"

French pro riders support Bouyer at the 2006 Cholet-Pays De Loire: "An innocent man pays for the cheaters" (Image credit: Régis Garnier)

French pro rider Franck Bouyer did not get his contract renewed for the 2007 season. The former Bouygues Telecom rider, who is suffering from narcolepsy (uncontrollable sleep attacks) has not raced for nearly two years, and his employer Jean-René Bernaudeau did not have a choice but to let him go. Bouyer is not allowed to compete since he needs to take forbidden substance modafinil in order to treat his illness.

"I wasn't happy doing it, but we had been paying him for two years even if he couldn't race," explained Bouygues Telecom manager Bernaudeau to L'Equipe. "He will continue his fight, which is right, and we will not let him down. As soon as his situation is regulated, he'll get his place back."

The UCI prohibited Bouyer to race in March 2004, after his condition was revealed. While the World Anti-Doping Agency WADA allowed him to race in August 2005, the UCI appealed the decision, and Bouyer appeared in front of the Court of Arbitration for Sport in January 2006. He was then again prohibited to compete in March 2006, and has been continuing his fight to obtain a TUE (Therapeutic Use Exemption) ever since.

Bouyer will give his file to a civil court before the end of this month. "It was entirely examined by sports doctor Michèle Potiron, who integrated all the tests that I underwent these past two years," Bouyer said. "She concluded that the use of modafinil didn't enhance my performances, but actually decreased them."

If the judge considers the file to be valid - the investigation is expected to last about three months - then Bouyer will have an argument to apply for a TUE at the UCI. He also has an appointment with French sports minister Jean-Francois Lamour, the new WADA vice-president, in February. "I think it is important that he understands the details of this affair," Bouyer added.

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