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Stage nine winner Luis Leon Sanchez (Rabobank) on the podium.
Blanco say they have “no idea” about alleged appeal
A member of Team Blanco’s management says the team has “no idea” about reports in Gazzetta dello Sport on Tuesday concerning an alleged appeal by their rider Luis León Sanchez to the UCI apparently claiming that the team have impeded his right to work.
Sánchez was placed on non-active status in February when the news over his alleged links to Operación Puerto – which Sánchez denies – broke. One of Rabobank’s most successful riders, his last race was last September.
Asked if the Spaniard was suspended, Blanco sports director Frans Maassen told Cyclingnews on Tuesday that was not the case. “No... just that the team say that maybe [there is] something not good.”
“I think in any other team he would be out. But I cannot make any decisions, it’s difficult. He is a really good rider.”
Maassen agreed that the situation was unusual, that it was hard to see what the outcome would be and that the case has dragged on for longer than usual. “It has already been a long time now. And nothing is happening, so I don’t know.”
Asked if something might happen once a verdict concerning Operacion Puerto – to which Sánchez has allegedly been linked – came out, Maassen said: “I don’t know anything about this, I cannot make a decision, you have to talk to another director about this.”
Blanco announced Sanchez’s suspension on February 2, saying that “until there is clarity about the outcome of the investigation is Luis Leon Sanchez is not included in a selection of Blanco."
Speaking to Cyclingnews later that month, Blanco general manager Richard Plugge said that he had remained in email contact with Luis Leon Sanchez and that the team was investigating his alleged links to Dr. Eufemiano Fuentes “very thoroughly.”