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Last Updated: Tuesday, 13 June 2006, 15:41 GMT 16:41 UK
Drug-probe team lose Tour invite
cycling
Spanish team Comunidad Valenciana will not compete in the 2006 Tour de France after organisers withdrew their invite.

The decision came after the squad's deputy director was arrested as part of a major doping investigation in Spain.

In a statement, the Tour's management said the punishment was "faithful to its principles with regard to the fight against doping".

Comunidad Valenciana will not be replaced, cutting the field to 21 teams for cycling's showcase event.

Spanish police seized large amounts of steroids, hormones and 100 bags of frozen blood and equipment for treating blood.

Comunidad Valenciana's deputy director Jose Ignacio Labarta was among those detained.

Tour organisers said they were waiting for cycling's governing body, the UCI, to rule on whether the Astana-Wurth team should be also barred from the race.

Team director Manolo Saiz's was also arrested in the doping probe and has since quit his post while protesting his innocence.

But Tour organisers said in their statement that his involvement in the doping probe is "prejudicial to the image of cycling".

This year's Tour starts on 1 July in Strasbourg, ending on 23 July in Paris.



SEE ALSO
Director quits after drugs probe
09 Jun 06 |  Cycling
Phonak sidelines duo from racing
02 Jun 06 |  Cycling


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