The riders of team Saunier Duval -Scott have issued an open letter to the squad’s sponsors in an effort to assure them – and the world at large – that they believe in ‘clean and credible cycling’.

Saunier rider Riccardo Ricco failed a doping test for EPO at the Tour de France after winning two stage, and the squad withdrew from the race voluntarily. Subsequently, both Ricco and Leonardo Piepoli – also a stage winner at the 2008 Tour – were sacked for infringing the team’s ethical code.

Both the squad and its riders are now on a damage limitation exercise – it has become fairly standard practice for sponsors to withdraw their financial support of a team in which one or more riders have failed a dope test. No one needs bad publicity, and they certainly don’t need to pay for the privilege. Indeed, Barloworld have withdrawn sponsorship of the team that bears its name after Moises Duenas tested positive during the Tour.

The statement is reproduced in full below:

The riders of Saunier Duval-Scott have written the letter below to the team´s sponsors, and asked for it to be published in the media.

To the sponsors of Saunier Duval-Scott cycling team

After the incidents in this edition of the Tour de France, we, the riders of Saunier Duval-Scott, would like to make the statement that the team in full, including cyclists, technical staff (Mauro Gianetti, Joxean Fernández Matxin, Pietro Algeri, Sabino Angoitia, and Matteo Algeri), and doctors (José Ibarguren, Juan Carlos Alameda, and María Sagasti) have always believed in clean and credible cycling, and this has been the guiding principle in all team meetings.

Our general manager, Mauro Gianetti, has encouraged us to get involved in humanitarian projects (fighting desertification in Mali, defending human rights, protecting the environment), teaching the importance of the human and ethical aspects associated with cycling beyond sports results.

We do not accept, and we strongly condemn, the choice made by riders seeking victory through deception. Therefore, we would not like this incident to stain the team’s impeccable reputation, or ours, or the management’s.

We are not ready to pay the price for the mistakes made by others, so he hope we can still rely on the trust society has always had in us, stemming from our serious, honest image.

Our principles have always been hard training and a healthy atmosphere, and we have been able to abide by them thanks to a team of supportive and helpful people who have expected sacrifice and good behaviour, rather than great sports results, of us.

We cannot and do not want to ignore the facts: cheaters need to be punished. But we also believe that those who have always fought honestly to defend the honour of the team should be protected.

We believe we still have a lot to do in the world of cycling, and we need your support to continue, showing Saunier Duval-Scott is a team of reliable and honest riders and, above all, trustworthy men.

The riders of Saunier Duval-Scott: Raúl Alarcón, Raivis Belohvosciks, Alberto Benítez, Rubens Bertogliati, Iker Camaño, David Cañada, Eros Capecchi, Ermanno Capelli, Juan José Cobo, David de la Fuente, Jesús del Nero, Arkaitz Durán, Alberto Fernández de la Puebla, Denis Flahaut, Ángel Gómez, José Ángel Gómez Marchante, Héctor González, Beñat Intxausti, Josep Jufré, Rubén Lobato, Javier Megías, Manuele Mori, Luciano Pagliarini, Aurélien Passeron.



TOUR DE FRANCE 2008: STAGE REPORTS

Stage 15: Schleck takes lead in the Alps

Stage 14: Oscar Freire wins in Digne-les-Bains

Stage 13: Cavendish takes fourth win

Stage 12: Cavendish makes it three

Stage 11: Arvesen wins

Stage 10: Evans takes yellow jersey by one second

Stage nine: Ricco wins in the Pyrenees

Stage eight: Cavendish wins again in Toulouse

Stage seven: Sanchez takes action-packed stage

Stage six: Ricco storms to win

Stage five: Cavendish takes first Tour win

Stage four: Schumacher wins TT and takes race lead

Stage three: Dumoulin wins stage from break

Stage two: Hushovd wins chaotic sprint

Stage one: Valverde wins

TOUR DE FRANCE 2008: NEWS

Comment: Why Cav is right to go home today

Cavendish pulls out of the Tour

Barloworld to end cycling sponsorship

Ricco speaks on Italian television

Cavendish joins the all-time greats

Saunier Duval sack Ricco and Piepoli

Tour bosses say fight against doping continues

Ricco denies doping at the Tour

Saunier Duval pull out of Tour

Tour’s top ten changes

Ricco positive for EPO at Tour

Analysis: Tour de France rest day summary

Cavendish battles through Pyrenees

Evans suffers but takes yellow jersey [stage 10]

Analysis: Hautacam shakes up 2008 Tour

Ricco silences critics with solo attack in Pyrenees [stage nine]

Cavendish talks about his second stage win [stage eight]

Beltran heads home but doubts remain about other Tour riders

David Millar: the dope controls are working

Manuel Beltran tests positive for EPO at the Tour

Comment: How the Tour rediscovered its spirit

Doping back in Tour de France headlines

Millar: close but no cigar in Super-Besse [stage six]

Super-Besse shows form of main contenders [stage six]

Millar to go for yellow [stage six]

Team Columbia’s reaction to Cavendish’s win [stage five]

Cavendish talks about his Tour stage win

Tour comment: Why Evans should be happy [stage four]

Millar: Still aiming for Tour yellow jersey [stage 4]

Who is Romain Feillu?

Cavendish disappointed with stage two result

Millar too close to Tour yellow jersey

Stage 2 preview: A sprint finish for Cavendish?

Millar happy after gains precious seconds in Plumelec

Valverde delighted with opening Tour stage win

Comment: Is Valverde’s win a good thing for the Tour?

TOUR DE FRANCE 2008: PHOTOS

Stage 15

Stage 14

Stage 13

Stage 12

Stage 11

Stage 11

Stage 10

Stage nine

Stage eight

Stage seven

Stage six

Stage five

Stage four

Stage three

Stage two

Stage one

TOUR DE FRANCE 2008: BLOGS

Life at the Tour part five

Life at the Tour part four

Life at the Tour part three

Life at the Tour part two

Life at the Tour part one

TOUR DE FRANCE 2008: GUIDE

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