By VeloNews Interactive, Copyright AFP2004
Credit firm Cofidis, sponsor France’s top cycling team, lost its claim for damages on Tuesday when a court dismissed the firm’s lawsuit against the sports daily L’Equipe, which last week published extracts of judicial statements into alleged doping.
The newspaper’s lawyer said the court ruled the daily had not drawn any definitive conclusion about doping and was not bound by the laws of confidentiality.
The team, which includes world champions David Millar of Britain and Igor Astarloa of Spain, has pulled out of all competition while its sponsor reviews the situation.
Sacked former Cofidis rider Philippe Gaumont’s statement, leaked to L’Equipe, implicated Millar, the Cofidis team doctor Jean-Jacques Menuet and both managers, Alain Deloeuil and Alain Bondue, whom he said had actively encouraged the use of banned substances.
Both managers and Menuet characterized the claims as “lies.” In total eight people, including some former Cofidis riders and a former soigneur, are being investigated by French authorities.
Cofidis has been involved in cycling since 1997. It is the only French team guaranteed an automatic place at the Tour de France.