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By VeloNews Interactive
Saiz hopes to hook Valverde
Former ONCE chief Manolo Saiz, now running the new Spanish team Liberty Seguros, wants to lure Alejandro Valverde away from his troubled Kelme team.
The 23-year-old Valverde, runner-up in this year’s world road-race championships in Canada, recently told the French daily L’Equipe that while he hopes to continue with Kelme, he will leave the team if it cannot solve its money problems.
And Saiz is ready to welcome him with open arms. “[Valverde] is an extremely interesting prospect,” Saiz told L’Equipe. “I’m ready to begin negotiations with Kelme to get him.”
Kelme reportedly has not paid its riders’ salaries since September, and the UCI is insisting that all outstanding debt be resolved by December 20, the date for finalizing the list of pro teams allowed to race in 2004. Kelme manager Pepe Quiles told the French daily that all salaries would be paid.
“We have been preoccupied with our current financial situation,” said Quiles.
Conconi beats dope rap on technicality
Francesco Conconi has been acquitted of sporting fraud by an Italian court, which dropped the charges after ruling that the law the Italian sports doctor was accused of breaking wasn’t on the books when he was alleged to have been supplying banned products to athletes.
Conconi’s clients included a number of top cyclists, from Marco Pantani and Gianni Bugno to Claudio Chiappucci and Stephen Roche. Pantani himself was acquitted of sporting fraud under similar circumstances last month.
Conconi and his clients all have denied any wrongdoing.