The former Saunier Duval-Scott team will continue as Scott-American Beef after the squad’s title sponsor announced Wednesday that it would leave professional cycling in the wake of a drug scandal at the Tour de France.
Italian rider Riccardo Riccò tested positive for a new version of the banned blood booster EPO after the stage-four time trial, prompting the team to pull out of the race last week. Both Riccò and his compatriot Leonardo Piepoli, who had won the prestigious Bastille Day stage but had not failed a dope test, were sacked last Friday.
Also signing on with American Beef, based in Chihuahua, Mexico, are the Vuelta a Chihuahua, the state government of Chihuahua and Tierratech, according to a press release issued Friday and signed by general manager Mauro Gianetti and team manager Joxean Fernández Matxin.
Scott-American Beef will race at the Clasica San Sebastian, and its management has also been in touch with Unipublic, organizers of the Vuelta a España, in an attempt to “clarify definitively the events which led them to leave the Tour de France and to lose their main sponsor,” the announcement continued.
“We consider that what happened at the Tour is sad but do not have to condemn the whole team, who always showed fair play,” said Ricardo Creel, president of American Beef. “Those who are guilty must be punished, but all other honest racers, as well as the whole staff of the team, must be able to end the season with complete peace of mind.”
Saunier Duval, part of a German company specializing in domestic heaters and air conditioners, was the second sponsor to turn its back on cycling at this year’s Tour.
The first was Barloworld, which acted after Moises Duenas tested positive for the banned blood booster on stage four.