Trek-Segafredo team manager Luca Guercilena has admitted that the news of Andre Cardoso’s positive test for EPO has hurt the team, but he is determined to put it behind him and focus on the upcoming Tour de France.
The UCI announced on Tuesday that Cardoso had returned a positive finding for the banned blood booster Erythropoietin (EPO) during an out-of-competition test on June 18. Cardoso was due to line-up at the Tour de France to support Alberto Contador but has since been suspended by the team.
"It's clear that the case hurts us quite badly, but as I've said, we know what we are doing, and we know what our line is, we turn the page," said Guercilena. "In this case, from the legal point, we will see what happens at the end. Right now, we need to focus on the race."
When asked about it during his pre-Tour de France press conference, Contador, who was stripped of his 2010 Tour de France title after testing positive for Clenbuterol, said that the news had "come as a surprise" to him. Koen de Kort, another new signing for the team over the winter, told Cyclingnews after the team presentation that the team had spoken briefly about it and said that using EPO was "stupid".
He also said, "It's good that some guys get caught as it means that testing works and deters people from doing a stupid thing, but that it's a teammate makes it a bit painful."
Guercilena said on Friday that he has spoken with his team about the case, but they are not "spending too much time" discussing it.
"When a case like this happens, as I'm responsible for the team, I have to give clear lines on what is the approach to this kind of problem," he explained. "As it is in cycling, everybody has the same opinion on that. We don't spend too much time talking about it; we are focusing on the race and what the result is going to be."
It took Trek-Segafredo just a few hours to confirm Cardoso's replacement, with the 40-year-old Haimar Zubeldia stepping in to start his 16th Tour de France.
"Let's say, on the sporting side, we have 12 riders who are ready to start, as do most teams," said Guercilena. "So, to substitute a rider is not that bad, because you have others ready and in our case we were lucky because he is one of the most experienced guys in the peloton."