The Phonak Cycling Team has put two of its top riders, Santiago Botero and Jose Enrique Gutierrez (2nd in the Giro), on the bench in the wake of 'Operacion Puerto'. The Spanish media named these two riders in connection with Doctor Eufemiano Fuentes, who is under suspicion of committing crimes against public health by providing blood transfusions and other doping to Spanish spokespeople.
"After consultation with the riders involved, Santiago Botero and José Enrique Gutierrez, the team management decided that neither rider will be selected for races until the examinations bring more clarity to the picture," Phonak said in a statement.
"Botero and Gutierrez are neither dismissed nor suspended," said team manager John Lelangue. "In the interests of the team and to ensure calm for all team members for the coming races, we have decided to take this step. If further investigations show that the riders have used methods that are not permitted, they will of course be dismissed immediately."
Cyclingnews' recent coverage of 'Operación Puerto'
April 2, 2009 - Valverde indignant over possible suspension
April 1, 2009 - Valverde: Italy requests two-year suspension
March 13, 2009 - Le Monde newspaper hit with fine over Puerto allegations
March 2, 2009 - WADA president Fahey asks for Puerto evidence
February 24, 2009 - Spanish federation seeks access to Puerto blood bags
February 20, 2009 - CONI considers Valverde case while UCI awaits verdict
February 19, 2009 - Valverde under criminal investigation
February 11, 2009 - Valverde summonsed for Operación Puerto in Italy
February 8, 2009 - Eight charged in Operación Puerto