Scott-American Beef will not line up at the start of the 2008 Vuelta a España in Granada. Race organiser Unipublic has announced that the team formerly sponsored by Saunier Duval is not welcome. The squad, which collectively abandoned the Tour de France mid-race after the doping cases of Riccardo Riccò and Leonardo Piepoli, now suffers from a reputation.
Therefore, 19 teams will finally participate in the Spanish Grand Tour starting August 30: the 16 ProTour outfits, the two Spanish Pro Continental teams Karpin Galicia and Andalucía-Cajasur, as well as Italian-Russian squad Tinkoff.
Nevertheless, Scott-American Beef team director Joxean Fernández Matxin did not understand the reasons for the exclusion. "Riccardo Riccò said before the Italian Olympic Committee (CONI) that his positive test during the Tour had nothing to do with the team. Piepoli even denied doping himself. In my opinion, and in that of other qualified teams, we showed an exemplary behaviour in the Tour by our abandon and expelled Riccò and Piepoli in accordance with the code of ethics. Moreover, we have started legal action against Riccò for the damages he caused.
"Therefore, we do not understand on what basis we have been excluded from the Vuelta. We do not know the reason. We would like to know this from Unipublic," Matxin told Cyclingnews on Wednesday.
The race organiser also decided not to invite any more teams even though the maximum participation number of teams is 22. Neither Contentpolis-Murcia, nor Extremadura-Ciclismo Solidario, which had some hopes left to join the 2008 event, have been called to the start line.
On the other hand, Unipublic has left Liquigas and Crédit Agricole in the line-up, even though these two teams also had positive doping cases during the Tour de France with Manuel Beltrán and Dmitriy Fofonov respectively.
Additional reporting provided by Antonio J. Salmerón.