During his last participation in the Tour of Italy in 1999, Laurent Jalabert made surreal remarks to the Madrid press.
Laurent Jalabert has finally found his successor on the Tour of Italy. Until last weekend and the coup de force of Bruno Amirall, the Mazamétain indeed remained the last Frenchman to have worn the pink jersey. During the 1999 Giro, the ONCE leader had spent eight days in pink before letting go in the face of the onslaught of Marco Pantani.
In the end, despite the Pirate’s exclusion, Laurent Jalabert had to settle for fourth place, as well as three stage wins and the Cyclamen jersey in the points classification. But the Giro of the tricolor rider was also going to be marked by a vitriolic interview given to the Madrid daily La Razon on the evening of his third stage victory.
I am French, but I don’t feel French.
In addition to declaring itself certain of “take back the pink jersey” despite being two minutes late, Laurent Jalabert asserts that“there is no doping in cycling”. And this despite the various scandals, including the Festina affair, which have shaken the world of cycling in recent months. “Doping is a social problem. he adds, adding further: “In France, the athlete is an object. We are being used.”
Branded by the Tour de France 1998, which he left with a bang after the police custody suffered by the TVM team on the evening of the 16th stage, expresses his resentment. While he systematically boycotts French races and has decided to ignore the Tour de France, Laurent Jalabert has very strong words. “I am French, but I don’t feel French. I feel closer to the Spaniards, even if we shouldn’t say it too loudly,” he proclaims, adding about the organizers of the Tour de France: “I’ve had enough of these people.”