“We’re not wasting time discussing it [Cardoso’s positive test]” the team manager said less than 24 hours before the race’s opening time trial in Düsseldorf. “We’ll be focussing on the race and trying to get the best result.
“When a case like this happens I need to give clear lines on what the approach should be, but as it is now in cycling everyone has the same opinion about doping.”
Star rider Alberto Contador, who the team will be supporting in a bid for a third Tour de France title, said that he was surprised and disappointed that Cardoso, who would have been a key domestiques in the mountains, had tested positive for EPO in an out-of-competition test on June 18.
“It was a big surprise,” the 34-year-old said. “I never imagined that something like that would happen in this team.
“The whole team is very clear about this sort of thing. We have a policy of zero tolerance about doping but we have to wait until the end of the process. You can’t control everything within a team.”
From a sporting perspective, Guercilena said that the doping incident would not have an impact on the way that the team approached the race, and the roles of the different riders.
“We had 12 riders ready, as other teams have too, so to substitute a rider is not problematic because we have other riders ready.
“In our case we’re lucky that we’ve got a great replacement in Haimar Zubeldia, who’s one of the most experienced guys in the peloton. It is clear that the case hurts us a lot but as I said we know what we’re doing and we know what our line is so we will turn the page.”