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Parting company with Olano a necessity, says Vuelta a España organisation

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1998 Vuelta winner Abraham Olano made an appearance during stage five.

1998 Vuelta winner Abraham Olano made an appearance during stage five. (Image credit: Sirotti)
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Abraham Olano in the 1996 Giro d'Italia

Abraham Olano in the 1996 Giro d'Italia (Image credit: Bettini Photo)

Vuelta a España organiser Unipublic has issued a statement to explain the rationale behind its decision to remove Abraham Olano from his role as technical director, describing it as “an inescapable necessity.”

Olano was one of 18 riders listed in a French Senate Commission report on Wednesday as having testing positive for EPO when samples from the 1998 Tour de France were retrospectively analysed for research purposes in 2004.

"Unipublic has seen the inescapable necessity of ending the working relationship maintained over the years with the technical director of the Vuelta, Mr. Abraham Olano Manzano," read the statement.

"This decision does not prejudice the actions or responsibilities of Mr. Abraham Olano as to the allegations made against him, but is based solely on the information that has been revealed."

Unipublic described itself as being "firmly against any possible infraction of anti-doping regulations, showing in a public and continuous manner the maximum commitment to the fight against doping” and said that it was up to Olano to clarify the matter.

"We believe it is Abraham Olano himself who can, with serenity, shed light on this issue and clarify the allegations that have been made against him. We hope and wish that Abraham Olano can solve this situation as soon as possible."

Olano, who won the Vuelta in 1998 while racing for Banesto, issued a statement on Thursday claiming that he was always "under the control and custody of the team and its medical service. I absolutely do not consider myself guilty."

Following his dismissal by Unipublic, Olano speculated that the decision had been due in part to the influence of Tour de France organisers ASO, who own a 49% stake in Unipublic.

"I understand that we are part of ASO and so there is a French part, because otherwise I wouldn't understand it," Olano told AS. "I have to study the case with my lawyer to see if there is any way back. But the damage is done and it’s hard to go back."