By Antonio J. Salmerón
"The decision of not inviting Professional Continental Relax-GAM was taken because it did not give us total guarantees on its acceptance of the Code of Ethics. Relax sent us a preliminary list in which there was no cyclist supposedly involved in Operación Puerto but we had to remind them that we also needed a commitment in writing to the Code of Ethics," Vuelta a España's Director Victor Cordero to AS.
Cordero denied that the wildcard given to Karpin-Galicia is linked to the fact of that the Vuelta will start in Vigo (Galicia). "The Xunta (regional government) knew very well that we could not give them guarantees for the Karpin."
According to AS, Cordero admitted to have been influenced by the threat of a boycott from the foreign squads. "Unipublic guaranteed to the teams association [International Association of Professional Cycling teams (AIGCP)] that the Vuelta will not allow anybody related to the Operación Puerto to race.
"Karpin-Galicia was in Geneva last Tuesday [June 13 - ed.] and signed its adhesion to the Code of Ethics, and President Patrick Lefevere said to us that there would not be problems if we invited to them."