The Tuscan home of RadioShack rider Yaroslav Popovych, who earlier this month testified before a Federal Grand Jury in the United States that he had never witnessed drug-taking while part of Lance Armstrong’s team, has been searched as part of an Italian investigation into doping within sport.
Popovych’s house, near Florence, was raided on Thursday evening by Guardia di Finanza officers operating from Padova and Brescia-based Carabinieri from the Nucleo Antisofisticazione (NAS) which deals with public health issues.
The raid, which reportedly led to the seizure of unspecified medicines, was authorised by a warrant issued by the Padua-based prosecutor Benedetto Roberti, who is in charge of a long-running investigation into doping within Italian sport that has seen the homes of many leading riders based in the country being searched.
Italian sports daily La Gazzetta dello Sport, while stressing that there is no official confirmation, has speculated that the raid may be linked to the ongoing investigation in the United States into doping within professional cycling led by Special Agent Jeff Novitzky of the Food & Drug Administration (FDA).
Testifying before a Grand Jury in Los Angeles earlier this month, the Ukrainian rider swore under penalty of perjury that he had seen no evidence of drug-taking while riding alongside Armstrong for Discovery Channel in 2005, the year in which the Texan won his seventh and final Tour de France title, or, more recently, at Astana in 2009 or RadioShack in the season just finished.
Popovych was issued with a subpoena on 22 October in Austin, Texas, where he was attending the Livestrong Challenge Austin fundraiser for Armstrong’s charity.
According to the New York Daily News, Popovych’s attorney Ken Miller said that the 30-year-old “doesn't know anything about what the focus of the investigation is," adding, "he did testify and he's happy to have it behind him."
Whether or not the Italian raid is linked to the American investigation, it seems that Popovych may not quite be finished in his dealings with the authorities, although there’s no news yet of how the Italian prosecutor intends to proceed.
Referring to the subpoena of Popovych, Armstrong’s attorney Bryan Daly told the New York Daily News: "It's another example of the extremes to which the government is going in a case that doesn't warrant it."
Simon has been news editor at road.cc since 2009, reporting on 10 editions and counting of pro cycling’s biggest races such as the Tour de France, stories on issues including infrastructure and campaigning, and interviewing some of the biggest names in cycling. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, his background has proved invaluable in reporting on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, and the bike industry. He splits his time between London and Cambridge, and loves taking his miniature schnauzer Elodie on adventures in the basket of her Elephant Bike.