Originally created 01/23/04

Olympic medalist under investigation in doping scandal



PARIS -- Olympic medalist Philippe Gaumont was placed under investigation - one step short of being formally charged - in a police probe of possible drug use by the Cofidis pro cycling team.

Gaumont is suspected of supplying the banned performance-enhancing substance EPO to another cyclist.

Gaumont won a bronze for France in the team time trial at the 1992 Games and competed for Cofidis in last year's Tour de France. Cofidis is one of France's top teams.

He was detained Tuesday with Cofidis teammate Cedric Vasseur when they returned to Paris from a training session in southern Spain.

The doping probe began last summer, but the first arrests came last week when narcotics officers stopped former Cofidis rider Marek Rutkiewicz at a Paris airport. Suspected doping products, including growth hormones and other substances in unlabeled vials, were found in his bags, police said.

Also Thursday, the French news magazine Le Point published extracts from what it said were phone taps between other people implicated in the probe.

Investigators said they could not confirm that the excerpts were genuine.