The Tuscan home of RadioShack rider Yaroslav Popovych, who earlier this month testified before a Federal Grand Jury in the United States that he had never witnessed drug-taking while part of Lance Armstrong’s team, has been searched as part of an Italian investigation into doping within sport.
Popovych’s house, near Florence, was raided on Thursday evening by Guardia di Finanza officers operating from Padova and Brescia-based Carabinieri from the Nucleo Antisofisticazione (NAS) which deals with public health issues.
The raid, which reportedly led to the seizure of unspecified medicines, was authorised by a warrant issued by the Padua-based prosecutor Benedetto Roberti, who is in charge of a long-running investigation into doping within Italian sport that has seen the homes of many leading riders based in the country being searched.
Italian sports daily La Gazzetta dello Sport, while stressing that there is no official confirmation, has speculated that the raid may be linked to the ongoing investigation in the United States into doping within professional cycling led by Special Agent Jeff Novitzky of the Food & Drug Administration (FDA).
Testifying before a Grand Jury in Los Angeles earlier this month, the Ukrainian rider swore under penalty of perjury that he had seen no evidence of drug-taking while riding alongside Armstrong for Discovery Channel in 2005, the year in which the Texan won his seventh and final Tour de France title, or, more recently, at Astana in 2009 or RadioShack in the season just finished.
Popovych was issued with a subpoena on 22 October in Austin, Texas, where he was attending the Livestrong Challenge Austin fundraiser for Armstrong’s charity.
According to the New York Daily News, Popovych’s attorney Ken Miller said that the 30-year-old “doesn't know anything about what the focus of the investigation is," adding, "he did testify and he's happy to have it behind him."
Whether or not the Italian raid is linked to the American investigation, it seems that Popovych may not quite be finished in his dealings with the authorities, although there’s no news yet of how the Italian prosecutor intends to proceed.
Referring to the subpoena of Popovych, Armstrong’s attorney Bryan Daly told the New York Daily News: "It's another example of the extremes to which the government is going in a case that doesn't warrant it."
Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.