Liquigas wins appeal, Beltran must pay fine over 2008 Tour de France positive
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Monday, March 29, 2010

Liquigas wins appeal, Beltran must pay fine over 2008 Tour de France positive

by VeloNation Press at 7:20 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Doping
 

Disgraced former professional Manuel Beltran has been told that he must pay financial compensation to the Liquigas team, with the Spaniard losing an appeal to the Aribitration Committee of the FCI (Federazione Ciclistica Italiana, or Italian Cycling Federation).

The veteran rider tested positive for EPO during the 2008 Tour de France, being disqualified from the race and banned for two years. He was targeted for testing after anti-doping officials became suspicious.

“We took a urine sample from him on Saturday (July 5, day one of the Tour) because of anomalies in his blood sample,” explained Pierre Bordry, head of the French anti-doping agency AFLD, at the time. “The urine sample tested positive for EPO.”

The team were allowed to stay in the race but suffered considerable negative headlines. It decided to sue Beltran for damages, and he has now lost an appeal against that penalty.”

"We are very pleased with this decision recognizing our company as a victim of the irresponsibility of an athlete.” said the chairman of Liquigas Sport, Paolo Dal Lago, today. “The decision to bring case against Beltran, with all costs in the case, was created primarily by the desire to send a strong message against those who destroy cycling.

“Liquigas Sport has always maintained a strict internal discipline against doping and this action proves it. We are also convinced that it is a historic event for the whole world of cycling, as well as an important precedent in the battle to protect the sporting ethic.”

Team manager Roberto Amadio feels similarly vindicated. He said that the decision of the arbitration committee of the FCI "is an important contribution to the policy of zero tolerance that we promote in terms of doping. Our athletes have always said that for Liquigas Sport, victory is important but even more so the way in which you achieve that. Our rules do not permit mistakes in this direction and the Beltran case demonstrates our efforts to enforce that.”

He implied that any further cases could have the same outcome. “We can no longer accept that an athlete can put into question the commitment that for years we are making to create a structure of high-level cycling.”

Beltran competed with a number of teams during his professional career, including Mapei, Banesto and US Postal/Discovery Channel. He took sixth and ninth overall in the Vuelta a España while with the latter setup.

In commentating on the decision today, Liquigas has not indicated the details of the financial penalty Beltran will have to pay, but Belgian newspaper De Morgen reports the amount as 100,000 euros. He will be eligible to return to racing later this year and may well need to do so in order to earn the money required. He will however be 39 years of age then, and may find it tough to get a deal.

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