The national antidoping tribunal of CONI, the Italian national Olympic committee has hit former Lampre and Fasso Bartolo rider Lorenzo Bernucci and his family with a combined ban of 20 years for involvement in doping, including a five-year ban for the cyclist himself.
The sprinter had been charged in connection with the enquiry into doping within Italian cycling focused on the Lampre team and conducted by Padua-based magistrate Roberto Benedetti, and officers from the Guardia di Finanza had found the banned substances perflourocarbon and human albumin in a search of his home.
Further investigation including searches and intercepted telephone calls led to charges also being brought against Bernucci’s wife, mother and father-in-law, who have each received a four-year ban from any involvement with sport, while his brother has received a three-year ban, although Bernucci himself has always denied that his family had any connection with his use of performance enhancing drugs.
Bernucci, winner of Stage 6 of the 2005 Tour de France, was sacked by T-Mobile in September 2007 following a positive test for Sibutramine, although he said he hadn't known that the medication, which he had been using for four years, had been banned in 2006. Now, however, at 32 years of age, Bernucci's five-year ban almost certainly means that his career is effectively over.
His former team mate Alessandro Petacchi, winner of the green jersey at last summer’s Tour de France, was told during that race that he had been formally placed under investigation as part of Benedetti’s enquiry, although no charges have yet been brought against him.
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.