Lampre-Merida has confirmed that Michele Scarponi, who in December was handed a mainly backdated three-month ban, will be riding for it until the end of the 2013 season, putting an end to speculation over the rider’s immediate future.
The 33-year-old, awarded the overall victory in the 2011 Giro d’Italia after Alberto Contador was stripped of it, is effectively on a final warning – his redrafted contract includes a voluntary undertaking that he will resign immediately if any further breach of the team’s ethical code comes to light.
Scarponi was suspended in December by the anti-doping tribunal of the Italian Committee, CONI, after admitting that he had trained with the banned doctor Michele Ferrari in late 2010, shortly before he joined Lampre for the 2011 season.
His ban expired on 1 January, but Scarponi, who has previously served an 18-month ban after he admitted being one of the riders involved in Operacion Puerto, did not appear at Lampre-Merida’s 2013 launch, nor has he been listed as a rider on its website.
It has been reported that part of the reason for the delay in his being confirmed as being on the 2013 roster is due to concerns on the part of Taiwanese bicycle manufacturer Merida, which replaced Wilier as the team’s bike supplier for this season, as well as becoming co-sponsor.
Earlier this week, the team revealed that it had met with Scarponi and his lawyers, and it has now confirmed that he will make his 2013 debut in its colours tomorrow in the GP Città di Lugano in Switzerland.
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.