Mauro Gianetti, the team manager of the Saunier Duval team has announced that he has sacked both Riccardo Ricco and Leonardo Piepoli for breaking the ethics code of the team as he tries to keep his team alive.

In a statement issued by the team, Gianetti revealed that he decided to sack the two Italians after an internal investigation.

Ricco tested positive for the new form of EPO called Cera after the stage four time trial in Cholet. Piepoli won stage ten to Hautacam on Monday but despite rumours circulating at thee Tour de France, he has not failed any anti-doping tests.

Despite many people, including Tour de France director Christian Prudhomme, raising doubts about Gianetti’s virtues, the Swiss manager again insisted that he and the Saunier Duval team was not involved in anyway in Ricco?s doping problems.

?We?ve always controlled our athletes as much as possible, expecting them to behave correctly,? Gianetti said in the statement.

?Contracts are always drawn up with strong ethical clauses and we always have guarantees from the riders. Ricco swore on his mother?s honour that he would never have used illegal practices to improve his performance.?

?Despite all our efforts based on the internal and external tests, we didn?t manage to avoid what has happened and now we feel victims of those who have a criminal desire to win but have put major investments by our sponsors and the job prospects of tens of honest workers.?



TOUR DE FRANCE 2008: STAGE REPORTS

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

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 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 three

Life at the Tour part two

Life at the Tour part one

TOUR DE FRANCE 2008: GUIDE

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