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Now Kelme are banned from the Giro


MADRID, Spain (Reuters) -- Spanish cycling team Kelme's future is in jeopardy after the Giro d'Italia followed the example of the Tour de France and barred them from this year's race .

The move follows accusations of organized doping andKelme team director Vicente Belda said he felt let down by the decision

"When no one else wanted to go to the Giro we stood by them and took part," he said. "We have never had anything to hide and they now pay us back with this."

Jose Emilio Cervera, a representative of the Valencian regional government who are joint-sponsors of the team, admitted: "This is a very serious blow,"

And Belda added: "These decisions do nothing to help the team especially when you consider that we have often been the only Spanish team to attend the Giro.

"All I ask is that they let us show that we are one of the best teams in the world."

Spanish state television reported on Thursday that some of the team's sponsors may be reconsidering their decision to finance the outfit.

Jesus Manzano, who rode for Kelme for three years but was dropped from the squad last September, published claims about organized doping within the team in Spanish sports daily last month.

He said the use of banned substances such as the endurance booster EPO (erythropoietin) and human growth hormone, as well as practices such as blood transfusions, had been used while he rode for the team.

Kelme, who have denied the claims, were barred from the Tour de France as a result of the accusations, while a Spanish judge has launched an investigation into the matter.


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