Belkin and Luis Leon Sanchez part ways

Cycling, Netherlands, Spain, doping, Luis Leon Sanchez, Belkin, Rabobank
Luis Leon Sanchez at the 2013 Vuelta a Espana (Sirotti)

Team Belkin have split with Luis Leon Sanchez amid accusations he was linked to doctor Eufemiano Fuentes in the Operation Puerto blood doping racket, the De Telegraaf daily reported Wednesday.

Spanish police believed Sanchez was a client of the doctor in 2006 while riding for the Liberty Seguros team, something the 29-year-old denies.

Sanchez has won several major titles, including the San Sebastian Classic in 2010 and 2012, the 2009 Paris-Nice, the Tour Down Under in 2005 and four stages of the Tour de France.

"His name crops up in too many files," a Belkin spokesman was quoted as saying.

An internal investigation that got under way at the start of the year had revealed nothing, but the "confidence between the team and Sanchez has been broken", he said.

In a bid to prevent Sanchez potentially discrediting Belkin, the team made a settlement with the rider, who leaves with two years to run on his contract.

Sanchez had joined the team in 2011 (then called Rabobank), and had his contract extended for another three years ($3.4 million) after having won the Clasica San Sebastian in 2012.

The Spanish rider is reported to have fielded expressions of interest from several WorldTour team.

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