By Antonio J. Salmerón
Communidad Valenciana team manager Vicente Belda has appealed for help to Spanish secretary of state for sport Jaime Lissavetzky after Tour de France organisers withdrew his team's wildcard invitation to the race yesterday.
Speaking to the EFE press agency, Belda said, "Lissavetzky says that there is tolerance zero [for drugs in sport], but he has also been alongside Spanish sportsmen who have sacrificed themselves."
With respect to the dossier of Operation Puerto and Lissavetzky's role, Belda said, "Lissavetzky knows what is in the dossier, and that there are no Comunidad Valenciana riders implicated. He should inform the French authorities and defend the interests of Spanish sportsmen."
Communidad Valenciana assistant director sportif José Ignacio Labarta was one of the five people arrested in the May 23 Operation Puerto raids.