Italian Olympic Committee given access to Mantua files, major doping case opens days before Giro d'Italia

31 potentially face charges including Damiano Cunego and Alessandro Ballan

by Simon_MacMichael   April 18, 2013  

Syringe

CONI, the Italian national Olympic committee, is to be given access to evidence of gathered by prosecutors as part of the Mantua investigation into doping in cycling which involves big names such as Alessandro Ballan and Damiano Cunego, with a preliminary hearing scheduled for Tuesday 30 April – just four days before the 2013 Giro d’Italia begins in Naples.

That date for that hearing, which will determine whether formal charges will be pressed against those under investigation, was fixed yesterday by preliminary hearing judge Gilberto Casari, who also permitted CONI to be joined to the case as a civil party, reports the Gazzetta dello Sport.

That authorisation came after the session was suspended for 40 minutes while Casari considered requests from lawyers representing various of those being investigated who had unsuccessfully sought to block CONI - which could ultimately bring separate charges relating to the sporting aspect - being joined to the action.

The investigation focuses to a pharmacist based in Mariana Mantovana, Guido Nigrelli, and his relationship with the Lampre team, with a number of past and present riders and staff among those implicated.

It is separate to another probe being conducted from Padua which focuses on banned doctor Michele Ferrari and his alleged relationship with riders from a variety of teams.

Among 31 people said to be potentially facing charges as a result of the Mantua investigation are former world champion Ballan, currently recovering from an horrific crash while training for the current season, plus 2004 Giro d’Italia winner, Cunego.

Also figuring on the list of suspects are former Lampre team manager and Giro d’Italia and world championship winner Giuseppe Saronni, Danish ex-pro Michael Rasmussen who confessed to doping earlier this year, and current riders including Astana’s Simone Ponzi, Vini Fantini-Selle Italia’s Mauro Santambrogio, and Daniele Pietropolli, now in his fourth season with Lampre.

The preliminary hearing will consider whether formal charges should be brought against those who have been implicated, as well as whether evidence obtained by phone-taps should be admissible.

It’s not the first time CONI has been involved in the long-running investigation; two years ago, its anti-doping prosecutor, Ettore Torri, summoned some of the riders implicated, including Ballan, for interviews at his offices in Rome, although he decided to take no further action pending a criminal trial taking place.

7 user comments

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ooh, and just before the start of the Giro too...

posted by Sam1 [219 posts]
18th April 2013 - 15:33

9 Likes

Is this one exclusive to cycling, as opposed to the Fuentes case which spans other sports?

Last night I would have considered trading a very loud baby for a really nice bike.

posted by notfastenough [3307 posts]
18th April 2013 - 16:20

8 Likes

Cant say I am surprised with Ballan or Cunego. Even recently when Cunego was out alone in a race he had some dodgy looking red marks on his arm and went from riding with square wheels to a 1000cc motor bike within a day.

posted by Will Steed [48 posts]
18th April 2013 - 17:27

8 Likes

notfastenough wrote:
Is this one exclusive to cycling, as opposed to the Fuentes case which spans other sports?

As far as I know, yes, and within cycling it's focused around Lampre.

Not that Puerto (from an anti-doping point of view) has actually ever resulted in action being taken by Spanish authorities against non-cyclists, nor indeed cyclists unless they happen to be foreign...

Simon_MacMichael's picture

posted by Simon_MacMichael [8240 posts]
18th April 2013 - 17:38

4 Likes

Might revise my fantasy team...

I'm riding the 2013 Giro d'Italia for charity! Check it out and follow my progress live at www.tourletour.com

Tour Le Tour's picture

posted by Tour Le Tour [91 posts]
18th April 2013 - 17:38

12 Likes

Tour Le Tour wrote:
Might revise my fantasy team...

A practical response if ever there was one... Smile

posted by Sam1 [219 posts]
18th April 2013 - 18:04

8 Likes

So do I take it that the riders named will be kept away from the Giro?

Every day and in every way I'm getting slower and slower

posted by Edglass [69 posts]
27th April 2013 - 9:05

11 Likes