The Festina Affair
refers to the events that surround several doping scandals
, doping investigations and confessions of riders to doping that occurred during and after the 1998 Tour de France
. The affair began when a large haul of doping products was found in a car of the Festina cycling team
just before the start of the race which led to an investigation, which was followed by the re-opening of a separate case into the TVM team
and a subsequent searching of many teams during the race. The affair highlighted systematic doping and suspicion of a widespread network of doping in many teams of the Tour de France and was characterised by the constant negative publicity of the case, police searches of hotels, a spate of confessions by retired and current riders to doping, the detainment and arrest of many team personnel, protests by riders in the race as well as mass withdrawal of several teams from the race.
The Tour de France
began that year in Dublin
; it would be starting for the first time in Ireland
. The race was to begin on July 11, later than usual due to the 1998 FIFA World Cup
being held in France. Ahead of the race the former Irish professionals Sean Kelly
, Stephen Roche
and Martin Earley
were being presented with awards, while the organisation of the race in Ireland led by Pat McQuaid
, Alan Rushton and Mick Bennett, as well as the authorities of Dublin, prepared for the disruption to the city. The favourites such as Jan......