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 Indeed, Barloworld have withdrawn sponsorship of the team that bears its name after Moises Duenas tested positive during the Tour.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

Tour de France 2008 homepage>>
News and features>>
All the riders (start list, list of abandons)>>
Day by day summary>>
Route & stages>>
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About the Tour>>