Aiming to make sure his foray into the world of professional cycling doesn't end abruptly and with a tarnished reputation, Fernando Alonso has decided to insert an anti-doping clause into the contracts of the riders that will make up his team in 2014.
So reports Bilbao-based daily El Correo this morning. Euskaltel were hit hard by the positive test of Alexander Serebryakov earlier this year, and the Formula 1 star seems intent on avoiding a similar case.
If a rider fails a test, he'll be forced to compensate the team out of his own pocket for ruining the team's image. How much the riders will be forced to pay is, for now, unknown.
To make sure he's bought a team that is indeed doing things the right way already, El Correo claim Alonso's manager, Luis García Abad, called up the director of the Spanish Anti-Doping Agency, Ana Muños Merino, to make sure nothing suspicious is going on at the team.
Euskaltel, like most modern teams, of course have a history not entirely bereft of doping scandals.
The team have somehow avoided getting caught up in the biggest doping investigations over the last few years, but the cases of Txema del Olmo, Iñigo Landaluze, Gorka and Aitor González, César Solaun, Aitor Kintana, Aketza Peña, Mikel Astarloza, the aforementioned Serebryakov and of course the connections to infamous team doctors Jesús Losa, José Ibarguren and Iñaki Arratibel, have at various times tarnished the team's reputation.
As El Correo point out, rumours circulated not long after the Serebryakov case that Tarik Chaoufi was also in trouble with the UCI. What those "troubles" actually consisted of, and whether there indeed was any "trouble with the UCI", is unknown, though, and Chaoufi should then naturally be given the benefit of the doubt.
Photo: The Telegraph