Spaniard Manuel Beltrán may have tested positive for EPO during last year's Tour de France, but that may not mean he will be denied a racing license, according to reports on Saturday. The former Liquigas rider revealed that the UCI and the Spanish federation have communicated to him that he would be allowed to race anywhere except the Tour de France, much to his surprise.
"It is a surprise after I have been treated so badly. But the truth is that I do not mind. I was really depressed after the show that set up around me. It's something I would not wish on anyone, and frankly, I do not know what will happen in the future," Beltrán said in the local newspaper Ideal.
"It's a complicated situation. Right now I am not optimistic, but I would like to show that my professional career is still alive. There has been a turning point in my life since July, 2008. I had a model behavior; I have been honest and I have not had any problems with the anti-doping controls, so I cannot explain why they have gone after me."
Despite the scandal, Beltrán has continued to train, and has signed with Bike Sport, according to the Diario de Jaén. The team's director José Muñoz said, "Manolo has never been sanctioned by the UCI or the Spanish and, therefore, has his license in order to compete with us."
Beltrán was one of eight riders to test positive on samples taken during the Tour de France, where doping controls were conducted by the French anti-doping agency AFLD rather than under the UCI. Other positive riders Riccardo Riccò (CERA) and Dmitri Fofonov (Heptaminol), who tested positive during the Tour, and Bernard Kohl and Leonardo Piepoli, who were found positive for CERA in blood tests last August, have confessed and are serving bans.
Beltrán and fellow Spaniard Moises Dueñas along with German Stefan Schumacher (CERA) have yet to be handed suspensions. Frenchman Jimmy Casper was cleared of a doping violation after testing positive for asthma medication. (AJS)