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Anti-doping arm of Italian national Olympic committee CONI takes action after Gazzetta dello Sport claims

The anti-doping ofice of the Italian national Olympic committee, CONI, has announced that it has opened an investigation into former world champion Mario Cipollini as a result of the allegations of doping against him that have appeared in the press.

On Saturday, Italian sports daily La Gazzetta dello Sport published a year planner that it claimed showed a doping programme drawn up for Cipollini by Spanish doctor Eufemiano Fuentes during the 2002 season - the year he won both Milan-Sanremo and the world road championship for the only time.

The newspaper has subsequently published further allegations against the 45-year-old, whose lawyer has denounced the newspaper's claims as "absurd."

Cipollini is said to have been a client of Fuentes between 2001 and 2004, which in theory would put him outside the World Anti-Doping Code's current eight year statute of limitations.

The United States Anti-Doping Agency did not apply that in the Lance Armstrong case, insisting that the conspiracy that characterised that case rendered the limitation invalid.

It is not clear whether there is a belief that the wider Operacion Puerto scandal, for which Fuentes and others are currently on trial in Madrid on charges relating to public health, may result in Cipollini being viewed as potentially part of a wider conspiracy.

The Gazzetta dello Sport outlined yesterday a scenario in which CONI's anti-doping office could call Cipollini to appear before it - it adds that since he is not currently a licence holder, he could choose not to respond - with action potentially proceeding to Italy's national anti-doping court and even the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

Only at that point, assuming the case went against Cipollini, would the UCI then consider whether to strip him of any results, and if the statute of limitations were indeed to apply, he would only lost the very last win of his career, the Giro della Provincia di Lucca, his home province, which he won in March 2005.

 

 

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.

13 comments

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mikroos [257 posts] 3 years ago
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Every time I hear stories like this I'm happy that the truth is finally being revealed but on the other hand I'm so angry that people will talk about doping in cycling again.

It would be so beautiful if only other sports organisations did as much as cycling authorities to investigate doping cases. What is good however, is that journalists seem to have realised the problem and start asking hard difficult questions - let's hope they will take part in cleaning up professional sport.

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ch [186 posts] 3 years ago
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No need to worry about other sports. Cycling is a better sport for it. Good for the Italians for taking it upon themselves to investigate; whether the evidence is enough remains to be determined.

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Ghedebrav [1100 posts] 3 years ago
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"The Lyin' King"

Has anyone else said that yet?  4

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notfastenough [3674 posts] 3 years ago
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@ch, agreed, they seem to have a rather different approach to the Spanish.

@Ghedebrav - congratulations, you win the internet! I haven't heard that one until now.  4

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G-bitch [322 posts] 3 years ago
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It'd be shocking if he DIDN'T dope. Not sure why he bothers denying it, other than worrying about the impact on his business.

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PaulVWatts [111 posts] 3 years ago
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Seen in a L'Equipe comment: "The Lion King doping who next Snow White?"

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pwake [374 posts] 3 years ago
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PaulVWatts wrote:

Seen in a L'Equipe comment: "The Lion King doping who next Snow White?"

Well it obvious Snow White was the only one in that house who used HGH  1

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mattsavage [14 posts] 3 years ago
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WHO GIVES A SHIT!!!! The guy was rad, he retired, case closed...

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Ciaran Patrick [116 posts] 3 years ago
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A newspaper makes a headline with only supposition and a headlines to affect there bottom line and every one assumes given the nature of this he is guilty.

If he did or didn't dope irrelevant, I have as much time for dopers as I do papers dragging up old cyclists and saying they dopers.

The other thing that made me laugh was the idea of being taken to court with no one saying here is evidence however small.

Anyone fancy there time in court because one of your friends told the press that you maybe did something illegal.

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Simon_MacMichael [2450 posts] 3 years ago
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Ciaran Patrick wrote:

A newspaper makes a headline with only supposition and a headlines to affect there bottom line and every one assumes given the nature of this he is guilty.

If he did or didn't dope irrelevant, I have as much time for dopers as I do papers dragging up old cyclists and saying they dopers.

The other thing that made me laugh was the idea of being taken to court with no one saying here is evidence however small.

Anyone fancy there time in court because one of your friends told the press that you maybe did something illegal.

To be fair to the Gazzetta dello Sport, their story is based on much more than supposition.

If the documentation they published in recent days is what they say it is - and I think there's a pretty strong case that it is, and their lawyers must be 100 per cent certain to have let it go to print in the form it did - then it's less a case of a smoking gun and more one in which the bullet is still spinning out of the barrel.

I don't think CONI would have opened a file if it didn't believe there was a case to answer. Worth remembering also that were it not for CONI's persistence, Valverde would never have served a ban - the Spanish authorities weren't exactly falling over themselves to prosecute that case.

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Nick T [913 posts] 3 years ago
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I'm sure with media reports being what they are in this day and age, all it takes for the lawyers to be happy is to have a minimal chance of being counter sued. In these he-said-she-said cases, there's just some words flung about with no proof from either side that lies were actually told but in the meantime many papers are sold - which is the goal.

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Simon_MacMichael [2450 posts] 3 years ago
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Nick T wrote:

In these he-said-she-said cases, there's just some words flung about with no proof from either side...

It's not a "he said she said" case though.

The Gazzetta has what it says is proof, documentation seized from Fuentes by the Guardia Civil, copies of which its Madrid correspondent has obtained, and images of which it has published in the print edition in recent days. It looks like pretty damning stuff.

In Cipollini's case, the notes, said to be in Fuentes's hand include the very same phone number Italian journalists would use to contact the cyclist at the time in question.

In Basso's case, the notes, again said to be written by Fuentes, include the codename - that of his dog, Birillo - which Basso himself has admitted was how he was identified by Fuentes.

There's another point to consider. Yes, the Gazzetta wants to sell more papers. But it is also owned by the company that owns the Giro d'Italia.

I'd be surprised if the decision to run the stories wasn't made at group level - if you are in effect casting doubt on the legitimacy of the most successful stage winner in the history of the Giro, and the most recent home rider to have won it twice - both two of the biggest stars of Italian cycling of the last two decades - you don't do it lightly, especially if there is also a potentially damaging impact on the race you own.

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Karbon Kev [688 posts] 3 years ago
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great news, at last this long time show off will hopefully get what's coming to him, another one bites the dust ....