Not long ago, Vuelta a España organiser Victor Cordero had told newspaper El Faro de Murcia that Unipublic would wait until the week before the Vuelta to make a decision on the participation of Comunidad Valenciana, the Continental team linked to Operación Puerto. But now, the organisation has taken back the wild card due to the team's implication in the Spanish doping affair.
In a statement, Unipublic said, "According to the information remitted by the Spanish Interior Department (Ministerio del Interior), which has been facilitated by the Spanish Cycling Federation (RFEC) and the Spanish Civil Guard judicial informing on administrative infractions observed in the so-called procedure Operacion Puerto, we have decided to withdraw the wild card from Comunidad Valenciana for participating in the Vuelta a España 2006. This Professional Continental team was invited by Unipublic under the conditions of the Ethical Code, and it was accepted by Comunidad Valenciana. We took this decision on the basis of our responsibility and credibility."
Later, Victor Cordero explained the decision further. "The Comunidad Valenciana exclusion was decided after verifying that, in the Spanish Civil Guard report on relation to the Operacion Puerto, not only Ignacio Labarta was implicated, but also 17 additional members of Comunidad Valenciana," he said. "We requested a copy of the mentioned report from the Spanish Cycling Federation. Comunidad Valenciana signed the Ethical Code, therefore we must withdraw their wild card. The excluded riders of the Tour de France, such as Jan Ullrich, Ivan Basso and Francisco Mancebo, will not be in the Vuelta, either. The ethical code of Strasbourg will be applied in Malaga."
Courtesy of Antonio J. Salmerón