By Antonio J. Salmerón
Vuelta a España Director Victor Cordero is concerned about legal issues in the UCI riders' agreement that was proposed last week. The agreement states that any rider refusing to sign the anti-doping charter and agree to forfeit a year's salary if they're found guilty of doping will be excluded from the Tour de France. Whether the same condition will apply to the Vuelta remains to be seen. "There are some legal aspects that should be revised for the Spanish legal framework," noted Cordero to Cyclingnews on Monday.
Clarification could come as early as next week when Cordero meets with the UCI on July 5 in London. "We will see what happens after the meeting July fifth in London."
Earlier meetings helped Cordero select the final 21 teams for his three-week race. "The first wildcard was given to the Andalucía-Cayasur due to its good results and that there isn't anybody [on the team] linked to Operación Puerto. However, in the case of the Karpin-Galicia, the decision was taken due to its agreement with the ProTour riders' anti-doping signatures resulting from the meeting in Geneva."
One team that was not invited to the Vuelta was the ProTour squad Unibet.com. Unibet.com is launching a legal action to try and force the ASO to let them into the Tour de France, something that could be in the future for Unipublic. Cordero affirmed that his organisation would have a hard time adding another team, "It is true that we said that a 22nd squad could ultimately be invited, but at the moment that is impossible because we have some important logistic difficulties for adding anymore squads."
One Spanish Pro-conti squad with good results as of late was left off the list, too. Relax-GAM, the team of Route du Sud winner Oscar Sevilla was not happy to be left out of the Vuelta. Cordero commented that, "[Relax-GAM] has some important riders supposedly linked to Operación Puerto and we have no acceptance guarantee of UCI anti-doping agreement from Relax-GAM. I do not really understand why they are angry with us."
Cordero concluded assuring that, "all the riders who sign the anti-doping document deserve our respect because it gives a great guarantee for us."