Begins Euskal Bizikleta minus Sanchez
By Antonio J. Salmerón
At the start of today's opening stage of the Euskal Bizikleta in Spain, Würth rider Luis León Sanchez did not join his teammates in Eibar. Instead, the team was comprised of Joseba Beloki, David Etxebarria, Aaron Kemps, Aitor Osa, José Antonio Redondo, Carlos Abellán, Assan Bazayev and Angel Vicioso, who were wearing white-painted gear with Würth logos on their clothing.
Press officer Jacinto Vidarte denied speculation that team manager Manolo Sáiz had reached an agreement with a company known as Kazajan Oil, but did confirm negotiations were taking place: "We are working on this, but there is nothing concrete," he said.
Likewise, Vidarte denied any truth behind now sole sponsor Würth issuing Sáiz an ultimatum if the team were left out of the ProTour as a consequence of 'Operation Puerto': "It was a supposition more than a reality, because we have not [had] any warning in this sense."
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