Slipstream Sports, the management company that owns and runs the Garmin-Cervelo team has just announced the dismissal of their head directeur sportif, Matt White, for an incident that took place back in 2009.
According to the release White referred former rider Trent Lowe to Dr Luis Garcia del Moral of the Sports Institute of Valencia in April 2009, breaking the team's internal policy that all medical referrals are approved by the team's medical staff.
Vaughters admitted to Cycling Weekly that sacking White was a difficult thing to do. "Matt had done a wonderful job on our team, he is a very confident director, someone who I consider a friend," Vaughters said. "The problem being, we have some very stringent policies on this team and those cannot be broken."
Del Moral was the head of medical staff of the US Postal team between 1999 - 2003 and last year dismissed Floyd Landis' claims of an internal doping policy taking place in the squad.
The sacking comes just one week after Shane Bannan announced he would be bidding to launch the Green Edge cycling team in to the Worldtour next season. Many reports linked both White and several of Garmin-Cervelo's Australian riders to the team, although Bannan later said he would not be approaching riders under contract.
Slipstream's press release does, however, say: "We want to make it clear that we are parting ways for one reason and one reason only: because this vital team rule was broken."
Garmin has always run a strict and open anti-doping policy, but dissmissing a key member of it's management team for something that happened almost two years ago, one week after he was linked with a new team, is still a surprising outcome.
The release goes on to quote key figures behind the team:
Quote from Jonathan Vaughters, CEO of Slipstream Sports:
"We made a promise to our riders and to the world when we started this team. We live, every day, by the standards we have set for ourselves. We cannot allow this vital team rule to be broken."
Quote from Jon Cassat, VP, Communications, Garmin:
"We initially partnered with Slipstream Sports because we believe in their mission. We remain committed to Slipstream Sports and commend its management for holding true to the organization's values and high standards."
Quote from Gerard Vroomen, CEO of Cervélo:
"It's tough news but it gives me a lot of confidence in the Slipstream organization. It's easy to take a tough stance when there are no consequences, it's much more impressive when a team is willing to take a bullet to protect its philosophy and the cycling sport in general."
The announcement came soon after the team won the Tour Down Under with Cameron Meyer.
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