By Shane Stokes
David Plaza, new manager of the Relax-Gam team, has said that he believes that cycling must start over after Operación Puerto, putting the past behind it.
"This situation will not be solved if everyone does not do their part," he told the Spanish newspaper AS. "Sooner or later it is necessary to look for a kilometer zero. The OperaciónPuerto is not solved by making 54 riders unemployed, creating 54 Ullrichs. A final outcome like that would shame us all."
The former pro said that his riders are playing things by the book and that he does not doubt their honesty. The Spanish squad signed Oscar Sevilla, Francisco Mancebo, Angel Vicioso, Jan Hruska, and Santiago Perez, all of whom were linked to the OperaciónPuerto investigation.
He justified the team's decision to offer contracts to the quintet and said that if necessary, they will do whatever tests are required.
"Before signing them we spoke with the CSD [Superior Council of Sports] and the Federation and they confirmed to us that they did not have open files. In return we offered our support. Our cyclists will be available 24 hours of the day to the CSD for the analyses that it wants.
"We have signed an agreement on the matter so that there are no doubts of their honesty. Here we can promise that there will be no irregularity of any rider. I don't know what happened in the past, nor does it matter to me. I am not going to judge anybody's past, but I can confirm that the present attitude is as desired."
There is talk that those who were linked to OperaciónPuerto could be blocked entry to the Giro d'Italia, Tour de France, and Vuelta a España. He reacted to this news. "We will be respectful with the decisions that the Grand Tours and UCI make, but we have not yet received such news."
However, he said that Vuelta organisers cannot make such a ruling alone. "Such a serious decision cannot be made in a unilateral manner. It is necessary to do it in accordance with the UCI, the Grand Tours, the Federation, the CSD (Superior Council of Sports)."
As regards DNA, he believes that it can only be demanded by the right authorities. "We cannot force anybody to give their DNA. The only authority that can demand it is a judge."
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