Saiz: 'We are all really upset'

Liberty Seguros boss Manolo Saiz says his team will do all it can to find out what led to Nuno Ribei

Liberty Seguros boss Manolo Saiz says his team will do all it can to find out what led to Nuno Ribei


Liberty Seguros manager Manolo Saiz has said that his team will do all that they can to find out why Nuno Ribeiro registered an elevated haematocrit level that forced him out of the Giro d'Italia yesterday. The Portuguese rider's red blood cell count was 52 per cent, and this could be a sign of use of a blood-booster such as EPO. However, Liberty have said that they believe the elevated reading was due to a spell of training at altitude.

"We are all terribly upset about it," said Saiz. "This is the first time that one of our riders has been expelled from a race before it has started." Liberty will not be allowed to replace Ribeiro with a new rider and will line up in tomorrow's Giro prologue with just eight riders.

"We aren't going to look for excuses, what we want to find out are the causes of this result," Saiz explained. "We've told the UCI that we are putting the rider at their disposal. He will be travelling to [their HQ in] Lausanne and there they will do the pertinent tests that will clarify what has caused this anomaly."

Saiz is not in Italy at the moment - Liberty's Giro team is being looked after by his assistant, Marino Lejarreta - but has said that he wants speak to Ribeiro to get his side of the story. "Ribeiro would be thrown out of the team if he was to test positive. But, for the moment, that is not certain. We will have to await the results of tests before making a decision," said Saiz.

Last year two riders were prevented from taking part in the Giro for the same reason: Huberlino Mesa (Selle Italia) and Jure Golcer.

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