Twenty years on the Festina affair casts shadow over the Tour de France

Chris Froome’s presence on the start line of the Tour has stirred up some bad memories for France

The echoes are everywhere. In July 1998, as an irresistible French football team closed on World Cup victory, the Grand Départ of that year’s Tour de France was overshadowed by a fast-developing doping controversy. In Ireland, where the peloton was gathering for the Tour’s start, there was fear and loathing in the air.

What was at first a whisper eventually became a scream as the controversy exploded into the Festina Affair. The revelation of widespread doping throughout cycling accelerated the founding of Wada, the world anti-doping body.

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