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TVM Cyclists Accused of Drug Use

December 3, 1998

REIMS, France (AP) _ Four cyclists from the TVM team took EPO and other banned drugs during the Tour de France, judicial sources said Thursday.

The judge investigating the Dutch team has called seven cyclists to a Reims court for questioning.

Judge Odle Madrolle interviewed Dutchmen Joroen Blijlevens, Tristan Hoffmann, Servais Knaven and Bart Voskamp, Belgium’s Hendrick van Dijk and Peter van Petegem, and Sergei Outschakov of Ukraine.

TVM withdrew from the Tour de France during the race, saying police tactics made it impossible for its riders to compete.

But judicial sources, citing the results of medical tests taken during the Tour, said that four cyclists took EPO _ one of whom also took both amphetamines and cannabis _ and others had traces of corticoides. The four cyclists were not identified.

The medical tests could prove crucial in the case against TVM, as officials and cyclists all deny the use of banned substances.

At Festina, the team thrown out of the Tour de France, officials admitted to the use of EPO, though some cyclists still deny they knowingly took any banned substances.

French customs authorities found banned substances in a TVM team van in March, and the discovery became public in July.

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