Mauro Gianetti, the team manager of the Saunier Duval team has announced that he has sacked both Riccardo Ricco and Leonardo Piepoli for breaking the ethics code of the team as he tries to keep his team alive.

In a statement issued by the team, Gianetti revealed that he decided to sack the two Italians after an internal investigation.

Ricco tested positive for the new form of EPO called Cera after the stage four time trial in Cholet. Piepoli won stage ten to Hautacam on Monday but despite rumours circulating at thee Tour de France, he has not failed any anti-doping tests.

Despite many people, including Tour de France director Christian Prudhomme, raising doubts about Gianetti’s virtues, the Swiss manager again insisted that he and the Saunier Duval team was not involved in anyway in Ricco?s doping problems.

?We?ve always controlled our athletes as much as possible, expecting them to behave correctly,? Gianetti said in the statement.

?Contracts are always drawn up with strong ethical clauses and we always have guarantees from the riders. Ricco swore on his mother?s honour that he would never have used illegal practices to improve his performance.?

?Despite all our efforts based on the internal and external tests, we didn?t manage to avoid what has happened and now we feel victims of those who have a criminal desire to win but have put major investments by our sponsors and the job prospects of tens of honest workers.?



TOUR DE FRANCE 2008: STAGE REPORTS

Stage 13: Cavendish takes fourth win
Stage 12: Cavendish makes it three
Stage 11: Arvesen wins
Stage 10: Evans takes yellow jersey by one second
Stage nine: Ricco wins in the Pyrenees
Stage eight: Cavendish wins again in Toulouse
Stage seven: Sanchez takes action-packed stage
Stage six: Ricco storms to win
Stage five: Cavendish takes first Tour win
Stage four: Schumacher wins TT and takes race lead
Stage three: Dumoulin wins stage from break
Stage two: Hushovd wins chaotic sprint
Stage one: Valverde wins

TOUR DE FRANCE 2008: NEWS

Ricco speaks on Italian television
Cavendish joins the all-time greats
Saunier Duval sack Ricco and Piepoli
Tour bosses say fight against doping continues
Ricco denies doping at the Tour
Saunier Duval pull out of Tour
Tour’s top ten changes
Ricco positive for EPO at Tour
Analysis: Tour de France rest day summary
Cavendish battles through Pyrenees
Evans suffers but takes yellow jersey [stage 10]
Analysis: Hautacam shakes up 2008 Tour
Ricco silences critics with solo attack in Pyrenees [stage nine]
Cavendish talks about his second stage win [stage eight]
Beltran heads home but doubts remain about other Tour riders
David Millar: the dope controls are working
Manuel Beltran tests positive for EPO at the Tour
Comment: How the Tour rediscovered its spirit
Doping back in Tour de France headlines
Millar: close but no cigar in Super-Besse [stage six]
Super-Besse shows form of main contenders [stage six]
Millar to go for yellow [stage six]
Team Columbia’s reaction to Cavendish’s win [stage five]
Cavendish talks about his Tour stage win
Tour comment: Why Evans should be happy [stage four]
Millar: Still aiming for Tour yellow jersey [stage 4]
Who is Romain Feillu?
Cavendish disappointed with stage two result
Millar too close to Tour yellow jersey
Stage 2 preview: A sprint finish for Cavendish?
Millar happy after gains precious seconds in Plumelec
Valverde delighted with opening Tour stage win
Comment: Is Valverde’s win a good thing for the Tour?

TOUR DE FRANCE 2008: PHOTOS

Stage 12
Stage 11
Stage 11
Stage 10
Stage nine
Stage eight
Stage seven
Stage six
Stage five
Stage four
Stage three
Stage two
Stage one

TOUR DE FRANCE 2008: BLOGS

Life at the Tour part three
Life at the Tour part two
Life at the Tour part one

TOUR DE FRANCE 2008: GUIDE

Tour de France 2008 homepage>>
News and features>>
All the riders (start list, list of abandons)>>
Day by day summary>>
Route & stages>>
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