Barloworld quit cycling in wake of Duenas affair
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Saturday, July 19, 2008

Barloworld quit cycling in wake of Duenas affair

by Agence France-Presse at 11:45 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Tour de France
One of three doping affairs on this year's Tour de France has prompted Barloworld to pull out of sponsoring its British-registered team.

Barloworld rider Moises Duenas tested positive for the banned blood booster EPO (erythrpoietin) on stage four.

Duenas was the second rider to leave the race, following in the footsteps of compatriot Manuel Beltran, who rides for Liquigas.

Double stage winner Riccardo Ricco of Italy also tested positive for EPO, prompting his team, Saunier Duval - who withdrew from the race - to place a question mark over their future involvement in the sport.

In a statement released on their website Barloworld, which has its origins in South Africa, said the Duenas affair had been decisive. "Barloworld today announced that after serious consideration and in accordance with their policy towards doping that they will be withdrawing their cycling sponsorship following the Tour de France 2008," said Chris Fisher, head of corporate marketing at Barloworld. "This follows the disappointing actions of Moises Duenas, a team member, who tested positive for EPO, a prohibited substance, following stage 4 of the race. "We consistently drive the values of our business through the team. Team Barloworld has a zero tolerance policy towards doping which has been constantly communicated to the riders - we have to act on this policy and as such we will all have to live with the long term consequences of one individual's action. "This incident has a negative impact on Barloworld and our brand principals, which our board has a duty to protect. "To say that we are disappointed would be an understatement. Cycling has been overshadowed for some time with doping issues which have negatively affected the reputation of the sport. "Whilst we have continued to operate within this environment we have always made our position clear on drug use and have acted accordingly."

The statement added that Barloworld "will honour contractual obligations and discussions are underway with replacement sponsors". At the start of Saturday's 14th stage Barloworld had only four of their nine starting riders still left in the race.

Australian Baden Cooke crashed out injured during the 12th stage while Colombian Felix Cardenas pulled out during the 11th stage with a leg injury the same day as Italian Paolo Longo also crashed out.

Colombian climber Mauricio Soler - the reigning 'King of the Mountains' - pulled out earlier in the race due to a fractured wrist.

The remaining riders are sprinter Robert Hunter of South Africa, compatriot John-Augustyn Lee, Italian Giampaolo Chuela and Kenyan-born Briton Chris Froome.

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