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France probes Europcar cycling team for doping

France probes Europcar cycling team for doping

The Paris prosecutor's office opened a preliminary investigation into allegations of improper use of a controlled corticoid by cycling team Europcar during last year's Tour de France, a judicial official said Thursday, just two days before the start of the 2012 race.
The Tour's image has been badly damaged by doping scandals over the past decade. This year's race starts on Saturday in Liege, Belgium.
The judicial official told The Associated Press that investigators started probing several riders on the French team after receiving a notification from France's anti-doping agency, AFLD.
French sports daily L'Equipe first reported late Wednesday on details about the investigation that began last August, a month after the 2011 Tour ended.
The official, who spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity because the case is ongoing, confirmed the probe, but stressed that no evidence has been found.
He said investigators are likely probing Pierre Rolland _ who last year won the white jersey awarded to the Tour's best young rider _ or Thomas Voeckler, who placed a career-best fourth overall. The official declined to specify which cyclist is the focus of the doping investigation.
Jean-Rene Bernaudeau, the Europcar team manager, told L'Equipe he's not aware of the probe.
French teams like Europcar have been considered among the cleanest in the sport _ in part because of strict anti-doping laws that were put in place following a 1998 doping case, involving the French team Festina.