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French Senate report: Ullrich and Pantani both used EPO in 1998 Tour

A French Senate committee report has said that Germany's Jan Ullrich and Italy's Marco Pantani both used a banned doping substance during the 1998 Tour de France. Dozens of other athletes are also on the Senate list.

The report said Ullrich, who came second in the 1998 Tour, and Pantani, who came first, had both been taking the banned blood booster erythropoetin (EPO).

Three French riders were also revealed by the report to have used EPO in the 1998 Tour - Laurent Jalabert, Jacky Durand and Laurent Desbiens.

The commission found no evidence that US cyclist Bobby Julich, who was third, also used EPO, as was reported in the newspaper Le Monde on Tuesday. Two more German riders were however on the list: Erik Zabel and Jens Heppner.

The findings were based on comparisons made of retrospective testing results from 2004 and a list of anonymous samples from 1998.The report is said to expose doping in the case of dozens of other former top professional athletes. However, as it does not contain a list of names of those found out, but only code numbers, it will be some time until all the names are made known.

Ullrich's adviser, Falk Nier, has so far not commented on the report, saying he had to read it first. Ullrich has only admitted using blood doping.

Pantani died in 2004.

Cycling in disrepute

Cycling has been hit by a series of doping scandals over the past years, most notably that involving US rider Lance Armstrong.

Armstrong was stripped of his seven Tour de France victories and banned from cycling for life last year for doping offenses. The affair plunged cycling into a crisis.

However, the French commission is also looking at other sports, such as rugby in particular, as well as fooball and tennis.

It aims to come up with proposals for legislation on sport and put them before parliament for debate next year.

tj/kms (SID, AFP, dpa)