By VeloNews Interactive wire services, Copyright AFP2002
Lithuania’s largest daily on Friday slammed the French judiciary and media for the jailing of the wife of Lithuanian cyclist Raimondas Rumsas, calling the move revenge for his third place finish in the Tour de France.
“The operation only against the wife of the cyclist appears to be an attempt to crucify him, especially as he is an upstart from a country without influence,” the daily Lietuvos Rytas wrote in an editorial.
Edita Rumsas, the rider’s wife, was charged on Tuesday after being caught with performance-enhancing drugs in her car and is currently in police detention.
She has been charged with arranging the supply, transfer and helping in the use of doping products and faces up to seven years in jail.
Lietuvos Rytas insists that the charges are fake.
The newspaper asked why only members of Rumsas’ Italian team Lampre were searched for banned drugs, and there are no witnesses to his wife possessing and distributing the drugs.
“It is difficult to dispel suspicions that the Lithuanian’s third place finish in the prestigious race spoiled business for someone who is very powerful,” wrote the daily.
Lietuvos Rytas also slammed French media for reporting on Rumsas’ wife.
“French newspapers call Edita Rumsas a liar – but what would they say if the wife of some French cult-figure were jailed in Lithuania?” the newspaper asked.
The doping charges are just “a cover in an attempt to teach upstarts” a lesson, it concluded.
Rumsas says the drugs were destined for his mother-in-law and the rider showed no traces of doping in tests taken during the Tour de France, sources in France told AFP on Wednesday.