By Gregor Brown
Tinkoff Credit Systems has expressed its concern over statements made by Jesper Worre, the Tour of Denmark race organiser, where the Dane said he wanted to exclude the team from his event. "It is not fair to exclude racers from a race when they are not condemned for any wrong doing," said Tinkoff Credit Systems' general manager, Stefano Feltrin to Cyclingnews. Worre, who is also the chairman of Denmark's cycling union, said that his race does not want Discovery Channel, with Ivan Basso, Jan Ullrich, Team LPR and Tinkoff Credit Systems.
"And I am even more surprised for our exclusion in the Tour of Denmark. We have signed a rider who has served his time and is free to race," continued Feltrin in regards to the team's new signing, Tyler Hamilton. The American was found positive for blood transfusion in fall of 2004 but has served a two-year ban from cycling.
"We are getting grouped together with the other teams. One, is that we are not a ProTour team, and don't apply to the gentlemen's agreement that was made, and the second is that Tyler Hamilton is not involved in Operación Puerto at all."
Hamilton was allegedly connected to the Operación Puerto investigation last June when it was reported that documents were found detailing payments made to Eufemiano Fuentes.
"But there have been no statements or contact from the authorities by this," continued Feltrin to Cyclingnews. "There has never been anything said by the federations against him; just rumours."
The general manager pointed out that they do want to race in Denmark's race and that he would like to speak personally with Worre.
"We have signed people who can legally race, who have no legal reason why they can't race. We are surprised that someone does not want us, based on rumours and suspicions. ... We are being penalized for what has happened in the past, and what a rider has already served time for.
"We would like to talk further with Worre." Did Tinkoff even have prior intentions in competing in the Tour of Denmark? "Of course, we are interested in all major tours; it was our intention to participate. We would still like to race in the Tour of Denmark."