Phonak's team manager John Lelangue was not impressed by the news that one of his riders, Fabrizio Guidi, had returned an "A" sample positive for EPO at the HEW Cyclassics on July 31. Although the EPO test has been found to be suspect in certain cases, Guidi's positive still earned him a suspension from the team until the results of his "B" sample are known. Regardless of the outcome, it still puts the team under pressure, as three of its riders already tested positive in the second half of last season for banned substances or methods.
In the wake of the cases involving Oscar Camenzind (EPO), Tyler Hamilton and Santiago Perez (homologous blood transfusions), Phonak was ejected from the ProTour before it had even started. Only by firing several riders, team staff, and doctors, was the team allowed back in by the UCI. Thus for the new team manager John Lelangue, Guidi's "A" positive was the last thing he wanted to hear.
"If [the B sample] is also positive...then I'll not only be disappointed, but also angry," said Lelangue to Sportwereld.be. "Guidi was the 25th and last rider that I took in the team before we joined the ProTour. In Gent-Wevelgem, he broke his arm but could work on his comeback in peace. There was no pressure from the team. Furthermore, he even had a contract for next year in his pocket! Therefore it amazes me that such a rider would take EPO."
Despite being disappointed, Lelangue denied that it was a personal defeat for him, even though he was brought in last year as the team's saviour. "Not true," he said. "I said to Rihs [Phonak boss] at the start that watertightness is impossible. Doping cases can keep surfacing, no matter how hard we try. Guidi passed all the hematocrit controls that we carried out in the team."