Franco Pellizotti, promoted to runner up in last year’s Giro d’Italia behind Denis Menchov following Danilo di Luca’s positive test for EPO, has been excluded from this year’s race just six days before it gets under way in Amsterdam.
The Liquigas star, who also won the King of the Mountains classification in last year’s Tour de France, is one of three riders cited by cycling’s governing body, the UCI, for discrepancies in the blood profiles of their biological passports, the others being the Spaniard Jesus Rosendo Prado of Andalucia-Cajasur and Slovenia’s Tadej Valjavec, who rides for AG2R-La Mondiale.
Rumours had been circulating for several days that the UCI planned to name several riders as having inconsistencies in their blood profiles compared to their biological passports, including a high profile Italian cyclist, which has been confirmed with the naming of Pellizotti. It is not known whether any other riders are due to be named.
In a press release issued yesterday, the UCI said: “After having informed all the parties concerned (riders, National Federations, teams, National Anti-Doping Organisations and the World Anti-Doping Agency), the International Cycling Union announces that disciplinary procedures have been requested against the following riders for apparent violation of the Anti-Doping Rules on the basis of the information provided by the blood profiles in their biological passports:
Franco Pellizotti (ITA)
Jesus Rosendo Prado (ESP)
Tadej Valjavec (SLO)”
The statement continued: “The UCI emphasises that these proceedings are being initiated as a result of the recommendations of the independent experts who were appointed when the biological passport programme was launched.
“Since the introduction of the new programme, the regular analysis of individual profiles has not only led to proceedings of the type described above, but has also allowed increasingly effective targeting of riders for out-of-competition anti-doping controls.
“Each rider mentioned above shall be accorded the right to the presumption of innocence until a final decision has been made on this matter. Under the World Anti-Doping Code and the UCI Anti-Doping Rules, the UCI is unable to provide any additional information at this time.”
Plucked from the obscurity of his London commute back in the mid-Nineties to live in Bath and edit bike mags our man made the jump to the interweb back in 2006 as launch editor of a large cycling website somewhat confusingly named after a piece of navigational equipment. He came up with the idea for road.cc mainly to avoid being told what to do… Oh dear, issues there then. Tony tries to ride his bike every day and if he doesn't he gets grumpy, he likes carbon, but owns steel, and wants titanium. When not on his bike or eating cake Tony spends his time looking for new ways to annoy the road.cc team. He's remarkably good at it.