We all know what happened in Operation Puerto, right? Well, the biggest hit was felt by Astana’s rider Alexandre Vinokourov. Vino has fought harder for a shot at the title than any of his famous attacks. First after the news of the doping bust broke, the tour wanted the team known as Liberty Seguros – Wurth out. Vino successfully appealed the decision to sports highest body, CAS. Round one to the Kazakh. Liberty drops sponsorship but another is secured from Vino’s native country, Astana. Score two for Vino.
Now as Astana – Wurth, Vino is reading for his attack on his bike. Not so fast, more ‘damning’ info cones from Operation Puerto that leads to suspensions of riders from the tour. Six from Astana – Wurth. Wurth drops its sponsorship and with just hours to the start of Le Tour, Vino is forced out because his team does not meet the minimum six man team.
This morning, the judge in the case clears all 5 Astana riders as reported by VeloNews:
Joseba Beloki, Isidro Nozal, Sergio Paulinho, Allan Davis and Alberto Contador have all received a written document officially clearing them of any links to the ongoing “Operación Puerto,” the Spanish newspaper El Diario Vasco reported Wednesday.
The five riders received a legal document signed by Manuel Sánchez Martín, secretary for the Spanish court heading up the “Operación Puerto” investigation, stating, “there are not any type of charges against them nor have there been adopted any type of legal action against them.”
But wait, there is more. How does the UCI apologize for suspending these riders based on bad data? Cyclingnews carried this comment from Alan Davis:
As you all know, I was forced to not take part in this year’s Tour de France after being named in a list of riders that are implicated in the Operacion Puerto.
I have been wrongly named in this list. I do not know Dr Fuentes, I have never spoken to Dr Fuentes either in person or on the phone and I have never had any reason to want to meet Dr Fuentes. I have requested a copy of the documents which are meant to implicate me, but to date I am still not sure how and in what way I am meant to be implicated.
To date, I have preferred to be silent and wait for justice to prove that I have nothing to do with Operacion Puerto. I am now over this whole situation. I thought it was finally over last Thursday when the Judge of the Operation Puerto sent a certified letter stating that my teammates from the Tour de France and I have nothing to do with proceedings in Madrid. I now find that my team can not include me in the upcoming races as the UCI have stated that I am still part of their investigation.
I invite or even demand that the UCI, ACF, Spanish Judicial system or whoever needs to, carry out a DNA test to finally clear my name from all of this. I understand that this is my choice and every individual is free to do whatever he feels he needs to do.
Should the DNA test prove that I am associated to this case, I will hang up my cycling shoes the day after and head home to Bundaberg and start looking for a normal job.
All of this is very frustrating when all I want to do is ride my bike and be able to make a living for my wife, kids and myself.