The Tour de France drug scandal took another turn Tuesday when the doctor for the ousted Festina team charged that riders were ordered by the team manager to pay for illegal substances.
"The riders were obliged to put part of their win bonuses into a `black box' fund to buy banned substances," Arsene Ryckaert, lawyer for team doctor Eric Ryckaert, told the Le Parisien newspaper. "These products, like regular drugs, were held at Festina's headquarters in Lyon."Team manager Bruno Roussel was in charge of the system and riders decided what substances they wanted to take, Arsene Ryckaert said.
Ryckaert said that his client, no relation, did not prescribe or administer banned substances and was called in only if riders had problems after taking drugs.
The drug scandal has rocked the Tour de France since customs officers found illegal substances in the car of the trainer of Festina's top rider, Richard Virenque.
The Festina team was thrown out of the race Saturday and police in Lille are holding Ryckaert and Roussel.
It was also reported Tuesday that French customs officials found the drug EPO in the car of officials of the Dutch TVM team in March. EPO is the same substance allegedly used by Festina.
The International Union of Cycling, the sport's governing body, has asked the Dutch cycling federation to investigate and tour organizers have threatened to expel the TVM team if it is proved riders took the drug.
"If the inquiry finds that rules have been broken, the case would go to the courts. But first we need proof that someone has done something wrong," said Anne-Laure Masson, the union's anti-drug coordinator.