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By VeloNews Interactive wire services , Copyright AFP2002
The Tour de France appears to be close to retaining its chief sponsor despite fears that the multi-million dollar deal could have been under threat because of the sport’s recent drug problems.
Officials at the French bank Credit Lyonnais, had hinted last year that they may end the company’s sponsorship of the event, said on Wednesday that they were now ready to extend the deal beyond 2003, the year of the Tour’s centenary.
“We have made the decision in principle to renew our contract with the Tour de France,” Nicolas Chaine, the director of communications at the French company, said.
“There has been true progress as regards the fight against the doping.
“The problem of drugs is not specific to cycling, it touches all sports which involve a lot of money.”