Cipollini’s Giro return deemed ‘not possible’ by UCI
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Tuesday, March 06, 2012

Cipollini’s Giro return deemed ‘not possible’ by UCI

by Shane Stokes at 8:39 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Giro d'Italia, Doping
 
Italian hasn’t registered for mandatory out of competition testing

Mario Cipollini’s declaration that he would like to return to the sport at 45 years of age and ride this year’s Giro d’Italia is looking like a possible marketing ploy for his bicycles after confirmation from the UCI that he will not be able to compete in the race this year.

Cipollini told La Gazzetta dello Sport that he wanted to work for the talented young Italian sprinter Andrea Guardini in the race, as well as returning as a sort of physiological experiment about how an older athlete would fare.

“Andrea has talent and is riding one of my bikes,” said Cipollini. “It would be nice if I pull the sprint for him in the Giro, against Cavendish. How many victories we would take?"

The answer is zero, together, at least for 2012. Contacted by VeloNation, the UCI has confirmed that Cipollini has not followed the anti-doping regulation which requires all returning athletes to be part of the out of competition testing pool for six months prior to racing.

“The rule is still in place, and he hasn’t notified the UCI of his intention to come back,” said its spokesman Enrico Carpani today. “So, he’s not be put in the testing group, which means his participation to the next Giro is not possible.”

Given the publicity that surrounded Lance Armstrong’s return and the publicity this generated for that regulation, it’s very difficult to believe that neither Cipollini nor his team were aware of the rule.

Armstrong was given a slight exemption to the regulation, being allowed ride despite falling short of the six month requirement by two weeks. This led to criticism of the UCI at the time.

As nothing has been done to inform the UCI of Cipollini’s reported plans, it appears that today’s Gazzetta announcement is one engineered by the 2003 world champion for a reason other than what he claims. Any comeback is at least six months away, and any Giro participation would have to take place in 2013 at the earliest.

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