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"SADDENED" BY SCANDAL, FESTINA STICKS WITH SPONSORSHIP
Published August 3, 1998
The Tour de France concluded yesterday, and during ABC's weekend coverage Festina, which sponsored the team that was thrown out of this year's race for doping, ran an ad during Tour coverage. The spot showed a pack of bikers riding in slow motion towards the camera, with the Festina logo in the bottom right corner of the screen. The following text scrolled: "An Important Announcement From Festina Watches: We are saddened that the Festina team was removed from the Tour de France. Festina Watches will remain a major sponsor and will continue its proud heritage and ties to the sport. Festina and cycling are a great marriage, but -- the use of performance enhancing substances should be eradicated from cycling." The message was signed by Festina USA President Renny Swift (THE DAILY). NOTES: ABC's Terry Gannon reported that two-time Tour de France stage winner Lance Armstrong, who worked the Tour as an analyst for ABC, "has come to terms with the U.S. Postal Service team and plans to race in the Tour next year." Armstrong, on the doping scandal: "Clearly it's been a bad situation. ... One thing that sticks out in my mind is that the riders have been abused, and the system has been abused a little bit. ... It's been a very unfortunate situation, and the riders, I think, are fair in being a little upset" (ABC, 8/1). ESPN's Michael Wilbon: "While France's first summer bash -- the World Cup -- was exalted, the Tour has been one scandalous embarrassment after another. ... There's one tiny little fact that keeps me from feeling sorry for the riders: Police keep finding doping and masking products in their raids. ... The cyclists object to being treated like criminals, but the real objection is to so many riders bringing such disgrace to themselves and what used to be cycling's crown jewel" ("Sports Reporters," 8/2).