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June 30, 2006

Mancebo to retire, Ullrich and Basso to fight allegations

ESPN.com | Contenders Ullrich, Basso barred from Tour de France

AG2R's Francisco Mancebo is apparently throwing up his hands, rather than either maintaining his innocence or admitting guilt in connection with the Operación Puerto investigation. He told procycling.com, “I consider myself innocent and I have never tested positive. I’m just going to see how this all evolves now. I’m sick of this world, I am going to hang to my bike up.”

Jan Ullrich continues to maintain his innocence, after being withdrawn from the Tour de France by his T-Mobile team.

“The only thing I can say so far is that I'm shocked, that I still have nothing to do with this, that I'm a victim now and that I'm prepared [for the Tour] in this year like never before,” Ullrich told reporters outside his hotel near Strasbourg, before leaving for home.

“This is the worst case of my career so far. I'll go on fighting at any rate. But at this moment, I'm desperate.”

The team says it will demand “evidence of Ullrich's innocence,” or may sever ties completely.

As for Basso, he's going to the lawyers:

"I have nothing to do with all this, but I will let my lawyers speak about this before me," Basso told Italian television.

Also:

"I'm totally relaxed. I'm waiting for someone to prove to me that I am guilty," said Basso.

Riis is distancing himself from his Giro winner:

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.

Also, the updated official start list is up (check your favorite surviving rider's bib number - Julich gets 11, Klöden 21).

Posted by Frank Steele on June 30, 2006 in Andreas Klöden, Bobby Julich, Doping, Francisco Mancebo, Ivan Basso, Jan Ullrich, Tour de France 2006 | Permalink

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I suspect they're guilty (nearly everyone in pro cycling that is - not just Ullrich and Basso), but let's see the evidence. I'm no pro cycling insider but it sure seems like the politics run rampant between all of the [Read More]

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