Jalabert steps down from Tour de France punditry role

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.

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