While other ProTour teams seem ready to take on the riders implicated in the Operation Puerto affair if the circumstantial evidence gathered is not enough to ban them from the sport, French team AG2R is not willing to let Francisco Mancebo race again. "I don't want the public to think that we were accomplices," team manager Vincent Lavenu told L'Equipe. "(Making Mancebo race again) is not an option for us." The Frenchman continued by explaining that the team would try to negotiate Mancebo out of his contract, and if he refused, that they could also engage in a dismissal procedure.
"We made a mistake in signing him, but he was in contact with the dopers beforehand," said Lavenu, who did not want to comment on alleged contract negotiations of Jan Ullrich and Ivan Basso. "We did not participate in this, and today, we pay for it. A rider like Vogondy pays for it, too. He's without a contract and I have to wait to settle the Mancebo case to be able to sign him."
Lavenu is most concerned about the credibility of cycling. "Today, the solution would be not to sign the top GC guys of the Grand Tours," he added. "But where do we put the barrier? Sixth, seventh? I don't say this by chance, because Cyril Dessel was seventh in the last Tour. He rides in my team and I know I don't take any risks with him. But what do others think of that? That's where we're at now: One can not believe in our sport any more."
Cyclingnews' recent coverage of 'Operación Puerto'
April 2, 2009 - Valverde indignant over possible suspension
April 1, 2009 - Valverde: Italy requests two-year suspension
March 13, 2009 - Le Monde newspaper hit with fine over Puerto allegations
March 2, 2009 - WADA president Fahey asks for Puerto evidence
February 24, 2009 - Spanish federation seeks access to Puerto blood bags
February 20, 2009 - CONI considers Valverde case while UCI awaits verdict
February 19, 2009 - Valverde under criminal investigation
February 11, 2009 - Valverde summonsed for Operación Puerto in Italy
February 8, 2009 - Eight charged in Operación Puerto