Having been named as one of the 18 riders listed in a French Senate Commission report in July for having tested positive for EPO at the 1998 Tour de France, Vuelta a España technical director Abraham Olano was stood down by race organisers Unipublic. Spanish sports daily AS arereporting that Fernando Escartín and Paco Giner are set to replace Olano and will share the role of technical director.
Both cyclists were contemporaries of Olano in the peloton during the 1990s. During his career Escartín rode with Olano at the Mapei team in the mid-1990s. Escartín was twice runner up at the Vuelta and finished third at the 1999 Tour de France winning stage 15 of the French race.
Escartín and Giner have previously worked at the Vuelta in professional roles. Since retiring in 2002 Escartín's participation in recent years at the race has been as a driver with Unipublic. Giner has been involved in designing the course including the decision to introduce the Peñas Blancas climb to the race this year.
AS are reporting that both Escartín and Giner were present throughout the 2013 edition of the race in order to learn the trade of technical director.
At the time of his dismal Olano speculated that the decision to remove him may have been due in part to the influence of Tour de France organisers ASO, who own a 49% stake in Unipublic. "I understand that we are part of ASO and so there is a French part, because otherwise I wouldn't understand it," Olano told AS. However the appointment of Escartín and Giner appears to dismiss Olano's speculation regarding his removal by Unipublic.
Since July it has come to light that Unipublic is set to become a wholly-owned affiliate of Tour de France owners ASO and with this change questions over the future of the grand tour have been raised.