Spanish team Relax-Fuenlabrada has made an offer to Santiago Perez, whose contract with Phonak was not renewed after it was found that he tested positive for blood doping. Perez has yet to be sanctioned for the offence, but Relax team director Jesús Suárez Cueva said that if he is found guilty, then the contract will be cancelled.
"The rider already knows the conditions and he agrees in principle," said Suárez Cueva to AS. "We haven't yet reached an agreement over the financial terms, which evidently are not going to be very high because we are a modest team and can't offer a lot."
Relax-Fuenlabrada is not a ProTour team, and can therefore in principle sign riders who are being investigated for doping offences (ProTour teams can't, according to the Code of Ethics). Cueva said that he was unaware if this would create problems further down the line, for example if the team was invited to the Vuelta a España. "I don't know. Perhaps Santi would not be able to race these races. But what I don't think is logical is marginalising a cyclist if he has not been sanctioned."
Perez's case is currently being heard by the Spanish cycling federation after he tested positive at an out of competition control in Switzerland on October 5. Meanwhile he has launched his own suit in the Court of Justice to ask for his provisional suspension to be lifted pending the outcome of his doping case, enabling him to continue to compete.