SBD/30/Events Attractions

"TURMOIL" AND "NEAR-TOTAL CHAOS" MAR THE TOUR DE FRANCE

          The Tour de France "fell into near-total chaos"
     yesterday as riders stopped on-course for the second time
     "in protest of police investigations into spiraling drug
     scandals on several teams," according to Anne Swardson of
     the WASHINGTON POST.  Bjarne Riis, the '96 Tour champion and
     an "unofficial" spokesperson for the riders' protest said,
     "if the police leave us alone, we depart (Thursday).  If
     not, we all go home" (WASHINGTON POST, 7/30).  The riders,
     who stopped racing yesterday for 15 minutes early in the
     race and "cruised slowly through more than three-quarters of
     the leg," finished with "hands joined and held aloft in
     symbolic victory" (Toronto GLOBE & MAIL, 7/30).  In N.Y.,
     Samuel Abt reports that the "turmoil" may force the Tour to
     a "premature end" for the first time in its 95-year history. 
     Abt: "The Tour has never unraveled to this extent, and the
     developments represent the biggest threat to the race's
     continuation since the second edition in 1904," when some
     riders cheated by taking a train (N.Y. TIMES, 7/30).
          FESTINA NOT FORLORN: Following a drug scandal that led
     to the removal of the Festina cycling team from the event,
     Festina USA will run a special explanatory commercial during
     race coverage on both ABC and ESPN.  Festina USA President
     Renny Swift said the new spot makes it "clear that we feel
     strongly about continuing our support of cycling and that we
     abhor the use of performance-enhancing drugs in connection
     with the sport."  Festina USA is a unit of watch maker
     Festina S.A. in Spain (N.Y. TIMES, 7/30).

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