Portuguese federation president worried about arrival of some Spanish cyclists

By Monika Prell

Several Spanish riders suspected of involvement in Operación Puerto signed on to teams based in Portugal after they failed to find Spanish teams for 2008. Francisco Mancebo and Eladio Jiménez (Fercase R.Móveis), Ángel Vicioso and Constantino Zaballa (LA-MSS) and Isidro Nozal and Koldo Gil (Liberty Seguros) are among those who will spend the year racing on Portuguese teams.

Not everyone is happy about it. According to Diario Vasco, Artur Lopes, the president of the Portuguese Cycling Federation (FPC), thinks the moves may damage the image of Portuguese cycling.

"This situation messes a bit [with] Portuguese cycling, but if those riders - [the] Spanish riders - come to be clean, everything will be alright. The have to accept starting from zero and being clean," said Lopes.

He likened the newly arrived Spanish riders to "rough material with quality - or assumed quality - at a low price."

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