Update: Blanco Pro Cycling confirms that Luis Leon Sanchez will return to competition in Tour of Belgium
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Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Update: Blanco Pro Cycling confirms that Luis Leon Sanchez will return to competition in Tour of Belgium

by Shane Stokes at 8:27 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Doping
Rider had been kept out of competition over alleged links to Operacion Puerto

Luis Leon SanchezFollowing suggestions earlier that Luis Leon Sanchez would remain sidelined for the foreseeable future, the Blanco Pro Cycling team has now clarified its position and has confirmed that the rider will indeed return to competition in the upcoming Tour of Belgium.

Earlier today Spanish media sources today quoted the rider’s press office as saying that he would return soon, having been put on inactive status on February 2nd by the Dutch squad.

He was suspected of being the rider codenamed ‘Huerto’ in the doping list of Eufemiano Fuentes, although he denies all involvement. As a precaution the team sidelined him until clarity was achieved.

According to Sanchez’s press office, that suspension was said to have come to an end earlier. “Blanco Pro Cycling has decided to reverse its decision not to enter Luis Leon Sanchez in competition,” the statement said, explaining that the decision was taken after the rider contacted the UCI’s arbitration tribunal over the matter.

“Blanco Pro Cycling accepts the arbitral demand made by the rider recognising the obligation to enter him in official competitions. Because of this, the rider will return in the Tour of Belgium on May 22nd,” the statement continued.

While Blanco Pro Cycling initially said that the story was premature, it has now updated its position to say that the decision has been taken.

“We are talking to the UCI about the matter, so that is still ongoing,” Blanco Pro Cycling press officer Leon Brouwer told VeloNation. “But I’ve received notice today that he is riding Belgium.

The UCI also commented on the matter today. “No decision has been rendered at this time,” said a UCI spokesperson.

The team was previously known as Rabobank but lost that title sponsor amid the fallout from the Lance Armstrong/US Postal Service affair. The bank is continuing to fulfil its ongoing contractual obligations for now, but the team is trying to line up a new backer prior to the start of the 2014 season.

Brouwer confirmed today that there is no news to report on that search. “Talks are ongoing and we have no decision at this point in time,” he said.

Note: an earlier version of this article quoted the team as saying that there had been no decision to put the rider in the Tour of Belgium; that position has since changed.


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