The UCI is meeting Wednesday with the 20 Pro Tour cycling teams to discuss and release the names of the riders it considers implicated in Operation Puerto. In other words, Wednesday will be the day we find out who is and who is not allowed to start the Tour de France. The list is rumored to contain over 50 names. It is also being speculated that they will take the unprecedented step of not allowing Erik Zabel to start nor to allow Rolf Aldag or Bjarne Riis to act as Director Sportif based on their admissions to have used drugs in the 90’s.
The fight against doping in cycling has recently seemed to be a little more level-headed, but at the same time, it continues to be very odd who is and who is not considered to be implicated in the case. It will be very interesting to see what comes out of the meeting and which names are released.
My big question is whether Valverde or Vino will be on the list. They strike me as obvious candidates, but they have so far been almost entirely ignored. We’ll see.
Correction: It appears the UCI is not meeting with the Pro Tour Teams until Tuesday, June 19; the June 13th meeting seems to have been between the teams themselves. They decided that any team not upholding the Pro Tour Ethics Code (i.e. suspend and not associated with any rider involved in a doping investigation, in particular Operation Puerto) will be excluded from the Pro Tour Team’s Association. This could spell trouble for Caisse d’Epargne, Saunier Duval and Discovery Channel.
Second Correction: It appears the UCI did not provide any information regarding Puerto and no new riders will be implicated. In fact, they say they only received 1,000 of the 6,000 pages from Spain and they did not contain any new information. However, Discovery Chanel did resign from the Pro Tour Team’s Association. Apparently, Johan Bruyneel did storm out of the meeting in a style modeled after the Bush Administration. Nice to see the influence that working for an American company is having on Bruyneel.
More of an Overcast-with-Chances-of-Rain-Wednesday than a Black Wednesday, then.