Cycling News Flash, July 18, 2008
Edited by Ben Abrahams
Riccò and Piepoli sacked by Saunier Duval
Leonardo Piepoli (Saunier Duval-Scott)
has been sacked for "doping practices".
Photo ©: Roberto Bettini
Riccardo Riccò and Leonardo Piepoli have both been fired by Saunier
Duval-Scott for "doping practices", the team announced Friday.
Team spokesman David Garcia told Reuters: "[Team manager]
Mauro Gianetti has lost faith in them and he decided to fire them from
the team. They have been fired for doping practices."
The news follows Riccò's failed
test for a third generation form of the blood boosting drug EPO and
the team's subsequent departure from the Tour de France on Thursday morning.
Riccò spent Thursday night behind
bars at a police station in Mirepoix, while the Saunier Duval bus
was stopped and searched around 17.30 local time as it made its way from
Riccò appeared in court in Foix on Friday morning to face charges
relating to his failed test. The possession and use of banned substances
is illegal under French law.
Piepoli, the winner of stage
10 to Hautacam, is not reported to have failed a drugs test, but the
team decided to fire him after conducting an internal investigation. "[Gianetti]
did a personal investigation and consequently lost faith in Riccò
but also in Piepoli because of a violation of the team's ethics code,"
read a team statement.
"All our riders gave us guarantees that they were clean," the
statement added. "Ricc˛ swore on his mother's head that he had never
turned to illegal substances or means to improve his performance. Despite
all the efforts made both internally and from outside the team we have
failed to avoid this deplorable situation. We are the victims of the deceitful
behaviour of those who put our sponsors' investments and the jobs of so
many honest people at risk with the loathsome purpose of improving their
Thierry Leroy, a spokesman for title sponsor Saunier Duval, told French
radio station RTL that the company would seriously consider its
future investment in the cycling team. "It is highly probable that
we will pull out of sponsoring cycling following this affair," said
He added that Saunier Duval would be prepared to launch legal action
against the team if proof was found of organised doping practices.
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