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Team Blanco suspend Luis Leon Sanchez

Cycling News
February 2, 2013, 09:59,
February 2, 2013, 10:05
First Edition Cycling News, Saturday, February 2, 2013
Tour de France
Rabobank's Luis Leon Sanchez loses out to Bradley Wiggins in the time trial at the Tour of Romandie

Rabobank's Luis Leon Sanchez loses out to Bradley Wiggins in the time trial at the Tour of Romandie

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Links to Fuentes become too much for team

Team Blanco Pro Cycling has opened an internal investigation into Luis Leon Sanchez and his links to Eufemiano Fuentes. He has been suspended by the team until further notice. The Spaniard has been with the squad – formerly Rabobank – since signing a lucrative deal in 2011. The 29-year-old started his career in 2003 at ONCE, under Manolo Saiz, before moving to Caisse d’Epargne in 2007.

However the Blanco management released a statement saying:

"Team Blanco has started an investigation against rider Luis Leon Sanchez after stories in the media about his possible involvement in the case-Fuentes. Until there is clarity about the outcome of the investigation is Luis Leon Sanchez is not included in a selection of Blanco."

In October of last year the team announced that there was ‘no problem with Sanchez’ but with the Operacion Puerto trial opening this week the intensity has magnified. Last week the team said they would investigate claims made by NRC Handelsblad which suggested that Sanchez was known by the code-name of Huerto and number 26.

Sanchez has always denied doping but was part of the Liberty Seguros team in 2006 that was hit by the Spanish police investigation and saw police discover dozens of bags of blood in Eufemiano Fuentes's lab in Madrid. Ivan Basso, Jan Ullrich, Michele Scarponi, Alejandro Valverde and others have all served bans for doping..

Sanchez in a multi winner of Tour de France stages, has won the Spanish time trial championships four time, and finished in the top ten in several grand tours.


Jeff Alias More than 1 year ago
Another waste of time and money, living in the past investigation.
TShame More than 1 year ago
Who said it was just in the past? Once team...doping, Rabobank.....doping. Then he has recently the best results in his life? You think he quit drugs and got faster and stronger?
Clausfarre More than 1 year ago
Worst comment ever. It is very 1998-ish......
BobAli More than 1 year ago
Why? This is a rider who is still riding and may not have changed his ways. I think a big deterent would be to retrospectively test samples from winners of all major races whenever a new test is developed. Then fined the living daylights out of anyone caught.
DarkWarrior More than 1 year ago
LLS and (probably most of the rest of the active PRO cyclists) need to pray that the T&R Commission commences quickly. Either way, the inevitable outcome is a steady string of convictions and admissions from the ongoing investigations. That, you can be sure of.
DarkWarrior More than 1 year ago
Most of the rest that raced in the pre-Blood Passport Era. To clarify....
João Sá More than 1 year ago
yes indeed.. just forget all past doping stuff
JohnR60 More than 1 year ago
Hmm.... is that what was said in 1999 & again in 2006 and now in 2012/13? Forget the past... live to repeat it>
David LaPorte More than 1 year ago
Sir Edmund Burke said "Those who do not know history's mistakes are doomed to repeat them." The message to today's riders needs to be that, if you dope, you will get caught. Maybe not today, but soon. And the consequences will be severe. As long as they feel that they're getting away with it and that it will never come back to haunt them, doping will continue to be a problem. But, if they believe that punishment will be inevitable, most of them will not dope.
ridleyrider More than 1 year ago
Cannot help but cringe at the damage control being done in all of this doping. We still look at the individual rider as the trophy in the doper hunts. I have a hard time believing that is a valid paradigm. Why do we allow our focus to be that small? Have we not already seen, time and time again, that it is organized team doping? The industry does not want us to think that way because of damage to them, but really folks, can we afford to look at it any other way? Catching a pusher on a street corner is an arrest. You caught the guy. Sh what - big deal. You have not addressed the PROBLEM. Who supplied him? Where does it come from? As fans of cycling, THAT is where we need to call for help. We see only a handful of folks other than the riders being outed. That tells me that there are hundreds of folks out there involved in the doping operation that are non riders, and all of them are slippery and cannot be caught. Tells me there are two reasonable scenarios why this happens 1) Cycling (UCI) has recognized that doping is too deep to tackle with the resources they have and calling in WADA, local police enforcement or national doping agencies would embarrass them due to to typical and stupid territory wars. They do what they can to try and look good, but no more. 2) They (UCI) are in with the managers to use doping to manipulate the results. Favorites are allowed to dope and are assisted in their process to make it more probable they get a good result or the organization knows through the testing that they are probably doping but turn the other way as long as it looks good. This allows them to inform "friends" of good bets for a race or make other deals. They can also manipulate the teams for favors with the "Hey, your guy is about to get caught doping, we need something from you and we can make it go away " situation. Very mafia. Managers remain safe, but riders take the fall if something goes bad. This way, cycling gets to catch dopers (look good for doing job) and manipulate results for the greatest possible financial gain. Not trying to assert this as truth. It just amazes me that we have yet to see where a strong doping conviction has come out of all of this. Notice how Lance is the only bad guy with doping? Notice how Rabobank got out a split second before the whole Lance thing really blew up? All of these riders doping, riders talking about team culture of doping, but no one but the riders and the only public attack considered newsworthy against a supplier is the Puerto case? Even HumanPlasma died off really fast - did we see a lot of news about them going out of business or even getting punished for helping racers dope? Is there a real effort to call out doing or is it a saving face situation?
Dedelou More than 1 year ago
You had a good point until you started getting off with the "Lance is the only bad guy with doping" tirade. That is when you showed you really don't know much at all about what is going on. Since 1988 several hundreds of riders and dozen of managers have been penalized, some of them have been banned from cycling and will never return. However , as you said very well, the culture of doping continues even as we speak, of that I am sure, because , like wars in real life, drugs make money for way too many people to ever been stopped. The real culprit are rarely implicated.
ridleyrider More than 1 year ago
Invoking the name of Mr. Armstrong was really to get the discussion rolling. You have to admit, his situation is presented in such a way that he is the demon that must be cast out. Rabobank riders have demonstrated that they have doped for years. Is there any proclamation that the former management is being investigated? Not a lot as far as I can tell. Your own statement of the quantities of riders and managers that have been penalized only supports what I said. The riders are the whipping posts. The riders are demonized above others, even though we have seen it shown that the doping culture is far too often at the team level. Omerta has a lot to do with it - especially in earlier days, but I still want to see if any country will treat organized doping the way it needs to be treated - as a criminal activity. When you have an entire organization that has admitted doping and it was part of a culture, you have a pretty serious reason to believe that drug trafficking and money laundering is occurring. What are we diverted to? The bad rider that doped.
Alpe73 More than 1 year ago
You've teased out a chunk of clarity here, RR. This all started out as a "Got him!" - there ... that's better." story, but since has swollen into a much larger and much more complex organism. Alignment along (so called) Hater vs Fanboy lines has softened, it seems. Fatigued. Time for a broader, deeper examination and introspection now. If not, it will have been just a piece of drama.
ellenbrook2001 More than 1 year ago
the rider already used another doping product or they cannot detected yet ,so the one earn the most money can afford the best on the market?????but the little guy cannot so he go slow never in the 20?
expobill More than 1 year ago
This is a shame, LL Sanchez is a class rider and person, hopeful he returns to the peloton soon!
BobAli More than 1 year ago
I'm sure he is a nice man, but would he be such a class rider if he was clean? (maybe if everyone was clean then yes - who really knows?)
ScubaSteve More than 1 year ago
IMO you either charge a rider if he is guilty or move on. Don't keep bringing up the past. I, for one, do not care that a man may or may not have doped 7yrs ago. Either he is found guilty or not. They have had this information for 6 or 7 years and it is just too long. I care more what cycling is going to do about doping tomorrow, because today we seem to care about the past!!!!!!!!!!!!! Lets all move on and get it right!
PhrediePhly More than 1 year ago
Smells like cologne - leave it alone
dccylist1227 More than 1 year ago
I'm glad to hear Blanco is helping to clean up cycling. May all the teams do the same and give us a sport with as few liars and cheaters as possible. How nice it would be to watch a race and know that the winners weren't chemically enhanced to give themselves an unfair advantage over those who worked just as hard but didn't juice.