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Old 06-30-2006, 09:11 AM  
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Tour de Lance bans top riders... breaking!

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Contenders Ullrich, Basso barred from Tour de FranceESPN.com news services


STRASBOURG, France -- The Tour de France was stripped of three of its biggest names on Friday after Jan Ullrich, Ivan Basso and Francisco Mancebo were named in a doping investigation in Spain.

Jan Ullrich had his medical exam on Thursday but won't ride in the 2006 Tour de France.
The decision to prevent those cyclists and others from racing threw the sport's premier race into upheaval the day before it begins.

Basso finished second in last year's Tour behind American Lance Armstrong, now retired. Ullrich was third and Mancebo fourth.

Tour director Christian Prudhomme said the organizers' determination to fight doping was "total."

"The enemy is not cycling, the enemy is doping," he said.

Riders being excluded will not be replaced, meaning a smaller field than the 189 racers originally expected.

It's the biggest doping crisis to the hit the sport since the Festina scandal in 1998 nearly derailed the Tour. The Festina team was ejected from the race after customs officers found a large stash of banned drugs in a team car.

Basso, winner of the Giro d'Italia, and Ullrich -- the 1997 Tour winner and a five-time runner-up -- were among more than 50 cyclists said to have been implicated in a Spanish doping probe that has rocked the sport for weeks.

Basso, Mancebo and Ullrich's teams said Friday that because their names had come up in the probe they were being withdrawn from the Tour. Ullrich's T-Mobile squad said it also suspended rider Oscar Sevilla and sporting director Rudi Pevenage because of their involvement.

Basso was returning to Italy, his team said.

Tour officials did not immediately say how many other riders were barred from the race.

The Spanish doping scandal erupted in May when police carried out arrests and raids, seizing drugs and frozen blood thought to have been prepared for banned, performance-enhancing transfusions.

Since then, the names of riders said to have had contacts with Eufemiano Fuentes, a doctor among those arrested, have leaked in Spanish media. Ullrich was among those named.

Then, after more leaks Thursday, Spanish authorities released details from the probe to Tour organizers and other cycling bodies, showing which riders were implicated in the investigation. It was on the basis of that official information that Tour teams decided to act.

T-Mobile received information implicating Ullrich, Sevilla and Pevenage from Tour organizers, including documents from the Spanish government, team spokesman Luuc Eisenga said.

"The only thing I can tell you is that the information is clear enough and didn't leave any doubt," he said.

Another T-Mobile spokesman, Stefan Wagner, told Germany's n-tv television that the team was acting on information indicating "that there was contact between the two riders and Rudi Pevenage and the Spanish doctor ... who is at the center of this doping story."

Asked whether T-Mobile would consider cutting ties with Ullrich completely, he replied "certainly ... we are now demanding evidence of his innocence."

"If this evidence can be provided, then we have a completely new situation," he said. "If it cannot be provided, nothing will change about this situation."

Ivan Basso is headed back to Italy. "We have to protect cycling," his team manager said.
The extent of Basso's implication was not immediately clear. But his team said the suspicion hanging over him would have made his participation in the Tour difficult.

"It would be big chaos if those riders remain in the race," said the manager of Basso's team, Bjarne Riis. "We have to protect cycling."

Riis noted that Basso's contract forbids him from working with doctors from outside their CSC team.

"Ivan must prove with his lawyer that he is innocent. I believe in Ivan but I have been forced to take the necessary steps," Riis said.

Spanish rider Joseba Beloki, runner-up at the 2002 Tour and third in both 2001 and 2000, was also among those named in media reports as being linked to the scandal. It was not immediately clear whether his team, Astana-Wurth, was also withdrawing him from this year's race.

Tour organizers had earlier sought to have the entire Astana team -- which also includes favorite Alexandre Vinokourov -- excluded. But the Court of Arbitration for Sport ruled against it on Thursday.

Prudhomme said Friday that the court might have ruled differently had it had access to the latest information from the Spanish probe.

"So many names" of Astana riders appear in the Spanish investigation "that it looks like a system of team doping," he said.

The Associated Press and Reuters contributed to this report.


Doping in cycling
2006: Jan Ullrich, Ivan Basso and Francisco Mancebo withdrawn from the Tour de France after they are named in a doping investigation in Spain.
2005: Spaniard Roberto Heras is banned for two years for testing positive for EPO in the Tour of Spain, which he won.
2004: Three riders are prevented from starting the Tour de France. Two others are kicked out the race after doping investigations. Britain's David Millar later admits to taking the blood booster erythropoietin.
1998: Festina cycling team expelled in the first week of the Tour de France after a team car was found loaded with performance-enhancing drugs. Festina rider Richard Virenque of France is later banned for six months after admitting doping.
1982: Winner of the Tour of Spain, Spanish rider Angel Arroyo, is disqualified after testing positive for amphetamines.
1967: Briton Tommy Simpson dies on a hill climb during the Tour de France. A vial containing an amphetamine was found.
-- Reuters
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Old 06-30-2006, 09:13 AM   #2
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Old 06-30-2006, 09:14 AM   #3
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Lance got out just in time.
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Old 06-30-2006, 09:15 AM   #4
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Old 06-30-2006, 09:26 AM   #5
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Old 06-30-2006, 11:27 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by coryt
Lance got out just in time.
Why? HE'S not doping, they are.
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Old 06-30-2006, 11:36 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gunther_Fan
Why? HE'S not doping, they are.
dumbass.
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Old 06-30-2006, 11:36 AM   #8
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Could OLN be behind this?? They couldn't get anyone to watch hockey (I hear the NHL may be looking to get a better TV deal), so now the resorting to eliminating the top competitors to give somebody like Floyd Landis a shot at winning. /sarcasm off
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Old 06-30-2006, 01:51 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by BIG_DADDY
dumbass.
What difference does it make if he got out of the sport? He's not doping, they are. If he was still cycling, he would have an easier win. So, who cares?
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Old 06-30-2006, 01:55 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gunther_Fan
What difference does it make if he got out of the sport? He's not doping, they are. If he was still cycling, he would have an easier win. So, who cares?
The three riders are just being accused of doping at this point, much like our boy Lance.

He would have been kicked out also...

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Old 06-30-2006, 01:56 PM   #11
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Who care's they are riding bikes not really a sport
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Old 06-30-2006, 02:00 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Moooo
The three riders are just being accused of doping at this point, much like our boy Lance.

He would have been kicked out also...

Moooo
The Tour wouldn't have kicked them out without extremely strong evidence, and Ulrich has doped in the past.

Nothing approaching that level ever happended to Armstrong.
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Old 06-30-2006, 02:00 PM   #13
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Quote:
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Who care's they are riding bikes not really a sport
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Donger is obviously part of the inner Circle.Donger is obviously part of the inner Circle.Donger is obviously part of the inner Circle.Donger is obviously part of the inner Circle.Donger is obviously part of the inner Circle.Donger is obviously part of the inner Circle.Donger is obviously part of the inner Circle.Donger is obviously part of the inner Circle.Donger is obviously part of the inner Circle.Donger is obviously part of the inner Circle.Donger is obviously part of the inner Circle.
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Old 06-30-2006, 02:02 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by Donger
The Tour wouldn't have kicked them out without extremely strong evidence, and Ulrich has doped in the past.

Nothing approaching that level ever happended to Armstrong.
I still say he would have been booted. If what the article says is true, and it was based solely on being on this list, then Lance is in the same boat. From how I understood it, past record was irrelevant.

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Old 06-30-2006, 02:05 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Moooo
I still say he would have been booted. If what the article says is true, and it was based solely on being on this list, then Lance is in the same boat. From how I understood it, past record was irrelevant.

Moooo
I'm not sure how you reach that conclusion. It doesn't say anything about the Discovery Team.
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