Franco Pellizotti, promoted to runner up in last year’s Giro d’Italia behind Denis Menchov following Danilo di Luca’s positive test for EPO, has been excluded from this year’s race just six days before it gets under way in Amsterdam.
The Liquigas star, who also won the King of the Mountains classification in last year’s Tour de France, is one of three riders cited by cycling’s governing body, the UCI, for discrepancies in the blood profiles of their biological passports, the others being the Spaniard Jesus Rosendo Prado of Andalucia-Cajasur and Slovenia’s Tadej Valjavec, who rides for AG2R-La Mondiale.
Rumours had been circulating for several days that the UCI planned to name several riders as having inconsistencies in their blood profiles compared to their biological passports, including a high profile Italian cyclist, which has been confirmed with the naming of Pellizotti. It is not known whether any other riders are due to be named.
In a press release issued yesterday, the UCI said: “After having informed all the parties concerned (riders, National Federations, teams, National Anti-Doping Organisations and the World Anti-Doping Agency), the International Cycling Union announces that disciplinary procedures have been requested against the following riders for apparent violation of the Anti-Doping Rules on the basis of the information provided by the blood profiles in their biological passports:
Franco Pellizotti (ITA)
Jesus Rosendo Prado (ESP)
Tadej Valjavec (SLO)”
The statement continued: “The UCI emphasises that these proceedings are being initiated as a result of the recommendations of the independent experts who were appointed when the biological passport programme was launched.
“Since the introduction of the new programme, the regular analysis of individual profiles has not only led to proceedings of the type described above, but has also allowed increasingly effective targeting of riders for out-of-competition anti-doping controls.
“Each rider mentioned above shall be accorded the right to the presumption of innocence until a final decision has been made on this matter. Under the World Anti-Doping Code and the UCI Anti-Doping Rules, the UCI is unable to provide any additional information at this time.”
Tony has been editing cycling magazines and websites since 1997 starting out as production editor and then deputy editor of Total Bike, acting editor of Total Mountain Bike and then seven years as editor of Cycling Plus. He launched his first cycling website - the Cycling Plus Forum at the turn of the century. In 2006 he left C+ to head up the launch team for Bike Radar which he edited until 2008, when he co-launched the multi-award winning road.cc - which he continues to edit today. His favourite ride is his ‘commute’ - which he does most days inc weekends and he’s been cycle-commuting since 1994. His favourite bikes are titanium and have disc brakes.