Liberty Seguros quits cycling!

Nice juicy tidbits today as Liberty Seguros pulls it sponsorship of the Liberty Seguros cycling team.

The Velonews Article has the allegation that:

...Saiz was caught red-handed with a refrigerated bag containing frozen blood and €60,000 in cash proved too much for the American sponsor.

Nice! I hope they are considering the possibility that Saiz is a reverse vampire and was trying to buy blood for either personal use, or to inject into his victims, or perhaps in some sort of conspiracy involving Tyler Hamilton's absorbed in utero twin.

Kidding aside, this is bad news for cycling again, but good news for anti doping efforts. When team directors and doctors are arrested and sponsors (the money) pull out, there is a huge incentive from the top to eliminate doping. Score another one for police efforts in catching doping.

The velonews article also mentions that this was the center of a 3 month long criminal investigation involving wiretaps and video surveliance.

Another allegation involves a list found at the flat of the arrested Dr. Fuentes, naming 200 cyclists including Ulrich and Basso who are "linked to doping practices" (source). Ulrich and Basso deny involvement of course.

What does this mean for the team formerly known as Liberty Seguros? I guess they finish the Giro and see if they can pull together enough sponsorship funding to race the tour. I also guess the WADA/UCI step in to try to ban the team from competition this year.

The spectre of criminal investigations bringing down 200 cyclists including such luminaries as Basso, Ulrich and Vinokourov is alot to bear for the average cycling fan. Whether we want to know or not, or even, as I do, think that they are mostly doping anyway, I am not sure anybody wants the house of cards to fall that hard.

I would love to see a few key arrests of doping doctors and team managers, but give implicated riders amnesty who detail what they were on, how they avoid detection and who gave them the drugs.

Tomorrow and the coming weeks will no doubt bring some more exciting allegations and denials. I may have to give up my low level doping commentary if this explodes.

More Doping musings:
  • dopingpalooza on the beginning of the Saiz/Seguros scandal
  • Tyler, Doping and baseball
  • On the IGF-1
  • Tyler riding in a race
  • Huge post on Tyler getting suspended with lots of doping links
  • Early post on the dealy
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