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Tour de France News Flash for June 30, 2006

Edited by Jeff Jones

Astana-Würth leaves the Tour

Dutch television's sports anchorman Mart Smeets has just reported that the Astana-Würth team has left the Tour de France. The team had five of its Tour riders officially named in the Operacion Puerto affair (Sergio Paulinho, Isidro Nozal, Allan Davis, Alberto Contador, Joseba Beloki), as well as several others (Michele Scarponi, Marcos Serrano, David Etxebarria, Angel Vicioso, Unai Osa, Jörg Jaksche), and of course ex-team manager Manolo Saiz. The team therefore wouldn't have had enough riders to start.

In an official statement, Active Bay, the team's management company, confirmed the news. "In view of the content of the dossier sent to Spanish authorities, Active Bay has decided, in accordance with the Ethical Code signed between the UCI ProTour's teams, to withdraw from the Tour de France those riders that appear in the above-mentioned dossier.

"This decision is adopted without prejudice of the respect to the right to the presumption of innocence of these riders and of that Active Bay will exercise the actions for the defence of its rights and those of its workers. This measure does not concern the team's riders of the Tour de France that are not included in the dossier: Alexander Vinokourov, Andrey Kashechkin, Carlos Barredo and Luis León Sanchez. Nevertheless, the withdrawal of the riders that appear in the above-mentioned dossier implies that the Tour of France team will not have the minimum number of riders demanded by the UCI rules, which means the team will not be able to take the start tomorrow morning in the Tour de France."

The organisers of the Tour, ASO, were already determined to refuse to allow Astana-Würth to start, despite a ruling from the Court of Arbitration for Sport that said it could.

May 18, 2009 - Valverde to start Catalunya
May 15, 2009 - Valverde not welcome in Denmark
May 14, 2009 - Spanish federation wants proof in Valverde case
May 13, 2009 - Spanish Olympic Committee defends Valverde
May 12, 2009 - Valverde responds to sanction
May 11, 2009 - Italian tribunal delivers Valverde two-year suspension
May 8, 2009 - Valverde case: Italian Olympic Committee defends Torri
May 7, 2009 - Valverde to take legal action against CONI prosecutor
May 5, 2009 - WADA and Spanish federation join CONI and UCI on Valverde
May 1, 2009 - International Cycling Union joins in on Valverde's hearing in Italy

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