Spanish championships not ridden after rider protest

No more than 500 metres were ridden by the Spanish professionals in their national road championships in Móstoles, near Madrid. The majority of the riders decided to stop in protest after El Pais published some confidential information regarding "Operacion Puerto", which implicated 58 cyclists in the biggest doping affair ever to hit Spanish sport. Among those implicated were several riders from the Astaná-Würth team, as well as its former manager Manolo Sáiz, and also the ex-director of the Comunidad Valenciana team, Ignacio Labarta.

"The decision was unanimous, because we are not prepared to undergo this orchestrated harassment," said one cyclist. The riders held a meeting before the race, and voted to stop. They were supported by the president of the Association of Professional Cyclists, José Rodríguez, although the Spanish Federation, which also took part in the meeting, did not support it.

The Spanish Federation issued a press statement offering its "excuses to the cities of Móstoles, Arroyomolinos and Moraleja de Enmedio, as well as the organizers of the championships... RFEC and its championships have been the victims of the decision taken by the riders to strike, which we did not share. In any case, the Spanish federation will continue to bend over backwards, as it always has done, in defense of the rights of the cyclists."

Given that no race was ridden, Juan Manuel Garate (Quick.Step) will keep the Spanish champion's jersey.

Courtesy of Antonio J. Salmerón

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

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