Tour de France director Jean-Marie Leblanc is still waiting for the UCI Licenses Commission to make its decision concerning the ProTour license of the Spanish Würth team. In the wake of 'Operacion Puerto', and with only nine days to go before the start of the Grand Tour in Strasbourg on July 1, race organiser ASO still does not know whether the squad formerly led by Manolo Saiz will be able to participate.
"What can I do?," Leblanc asked Belgian Sportwereld. "I have to respect the ProTour rules. But even if the decision is taken after the start of the Tour, we can still intervene. If the Würth team does not get a license, we can always send the team home then. The same applies to riders from other teams, should their names come up in the investigation."
The Tour de France management is thus continuing its zero tolerance policy concerning riders who are under doping charges, but Leblanc knows that his actions rely on legal facts which are beyond his control. "I count on the fair play of the team directors to leave those riders at home who are concerned in the investigation," he continued. "I also hope that the Spanish judiciary will reveal the whole extent of the Fuentes affair fast. Fellow organisers in Spain told me that the case has already weakened a lot. However, we won't decide anything until it is officially announced. I don't want to do as in 2004, when I excluded Di Luca and the Italian was never convicted."
Cyclingnews' recent coverage of 'Operación Puerto'
April 2, 2009 - Valverde indignant over possible suspension
April 1, 2009 - Valverde: Italy requests two-year suspension
March 13, 2009 - Le Monde newspaper hit with fine over Puerto allegations
March 2, 2009 - WADA president Fahey asks for Puerto evidence
February 24, 2009 - Spanish federation seeks access to Puerto blood bags
February 20, 2009 - CONI considers Valverde case while UCI awaits verdict
February 19, 2009 - Valverde under criminal investigation
February 11, 2009 - Valverde summonsed for Operación Puerto in Italy
February 8, 2009 - Eight charged in Operación Puerto