By VeloNews Interactive wire services, Copyright AFP2002
The managers of the Italian cycling team Saeco said they intend to take legal action against the organisers of the Tour de France after their expulsion from the race last month.
The Saeco team, which was given one of a few wildcard entries for the July 6-28 showpiece, was excluded when its star rider Gilberto Simoni tested positive for cocaine during the Giro d’Italia.
Former Giro winner Simoni had been touted as a challenger to three-time Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong and team managers feel the financial losses incurred from the expulsion merit corrective action.
In a press release late Friday Saeco said the situation was “absolutely unacceptable”, adding that “this case has cost us incalculable financial losses which, through the relevant authorities, we want to recoup from the Tour de France organisers.”
Saeco regard the decision as a “political choice” which “should only have concerned the rider and not the whole team.”
The statement added: “It is a political choice. A number of other teams who have been involved in doping cases have been allowed to take part in the race, including the one which replaced us (French team Jean Delatour).”
Jean Delatour rider Laurent Roux tested positive for amphetamines only last week.