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Company wants 5 million euros to repair damage to its image

In what will appear to many an extraordinary reaction to Italian anti-doping chief Ettore Torri’s recent comments about the prevalence of doping in cycling, the boss of the Liquigas company has said it will sue the official.

“Liquigas had a right to defend itself,” said Paolo Zani, the company’s chief executive. “Torri’s statements have done enormous damage to us. Our lawyers have looked into the matter and in the next few days we will start proceedings against Torri, seeking 5 million Euros as reparation for the damage to our image.”

Although Torri did not single out any athletes, Zani appears to have decided that his comments, by implication, amounted to finger-pointing at the Liquigas pro team.

Liquigas rider Franco Pellizotti is currently the subject of an investigation by Italian anti-doping authorities into suspicious blood values which were highlighted by the biological passport system. The Liquigas team has stood by Pellizotti, saying it accepts his explanation of the unusual readings.

Liquigas claims its riders’ green-blue jerseys “have come to symbolise commitment, efficiency, transparency and passion.”