Sherriff McQuaid clicks back the hammer:
Union Cycliste Internationale president Pat McQuaid has written to all ProTour teams suggesting they ask their riders competing in the Tour de France, which begins Saturday, to provide a written statement saying they are not involved in the affair, known as "Operación Puerto."
"If a false statement is given," McQuaid said, "they would immediately leave the team and pay a large fine and those riders who refuse to give a statement would be replaced.
"If the UCI were to receive official information during the race, it would ask for the immediate withdrawal of any rider involved and that they should not compete until the end of the disciplinary process." VN
Meanwhile, Vino and his Kazakh backed blueboys are in a duel of bragadaccio with the TourHeads:
"There is no evidence against our team," said Vinokourov, tipped as a potential winner of the 93rd Tour, which starts with a prologue in Strasbourg on Saturday. "The press just comes up with suspicions, but the press can also decide the general classification if it wants!" ...
Tour organizers, who initially suggested Astaná riders will not be presented with the other 20 professional teams at a public reception on Thursday evening, backed down late Wednesday.
Tour organisors issued a statement Wednesday evening saying that Astana would be able to be present at the ceremony without giving a reason for the change.
... whatevah, i do what i want.