Tour positives bring strong reactions

AFLD confirmed Leonardo Piepoli positive for CERA on Monday

AFLD confirmed Leonardo Piepoli positive for CERA on Monday (Image credit: Bettini Photo)

Monday's announcement by the French anti-doping agency (AFLD) that it had found three riders positive for EPO-CERA based on Tour de France samples produced strong reactions from riders and team staff. Swiss Mauro Gianetti, Team Manager of Scott-American Beef (ex-Saunier Duval), was not surprised by the announcement of two new positive controls for Riccardo Riccò.

"I'm not surprised by the other two positives Riccardo [Riccò], because the CERA lasts a month and then it was unusual that he had been caught only twice," he said of his former rider, according to Tuttosport. "That of Leonardo [Piepoli], however, is a matter that affects me deeply ..."

Gianetti fired Piepoli in July for breaking the team's code of ethics after being unsatisfied with his response to the earlier positive of Riccardo Riccò. "I thought that Piepoli could become a director of our team, one that could explain to new recruits how to stay afloat for many years with commitment and professionalism. It was a grave mistake that I made.

"Piepoli and Riccò did all the damage. In the past I gave a great opportunity to David Millar [after Millar confessed to EPO use and served a two-year suspension] and I do not regret it. Cycling has betrayed me so disgracefully, nullifying years of working with youth and humanitarian initiatives in the third world. I am really disgusted."

"This is dramatic because it shows that cycling is far away from achieving a change of consciousness," Thomas Bach, International Olympic Committee Vice President said, according to the Frankfurter Allgemeine. "The stupid boldness apparently is continuing."

"I hope that this isn't the last nail in the coffin, which will seal the fate of cycling. It is still only the A sample and we have to wait for the B sample. If it is true, then this is a tragedy of the largest proportions," said Jens Voigt of Team CSC-Saxo Bank, according to dpa, regarding the news of fellow German Stefan Schumacher.

Germany's Linus Gerdemann of Team Columbia, who wore the Tour's maillot jaune like Schumacher, was not pleased. "If this is true, then it is of course shameless and impudent. I just don't know what to say. That was thoughtless against all of cycling. You don't just damage your own career but also do massive damage to an entire sport. It is very depressing that there are still people who are destroying cycling."

"It's really hard when you keep hearing all this stuff, but I guarantee you the sport has never been cleaner," Baden Cooke of Team Barloworld said, according to the Herald Sun. "There are probably only five blokes out of 200 doing it, but they're the reason the sport's in turmoil and the reason there's a lot of really good riders who can't get a contract.

"There's a lot of anger among them because it's costing everyone a lot of money and their careers." (SW/LW)

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