Ibarguren Taus said to face hearing in July in relation to Mantova affair
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Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Ibarguren Taus said to face hearing in July in relation to Mantova affair

by Shane Stokes at 3:59 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Doping
Spaniard currently works with Omega Pharma Quick Step team

Previously named as one of 32 suspects in the case, Spanish doctor José Ibarguren Taus will face a hearing in connection to the Mantova doping inquiry in three months time.

Italian newspaper La Gazzetta dello Sport reported today that the Basque, who lives in Alicante, has been summoned to appear on July 13th on suspicion that he doped riders with products purchased from the Italian pharmacist Guido Nigrelli.

It states that the court mandate gives details of the charges facing the two, stating that they violated ‘art. 110 of the penal code (involvement in a criminal act) and 9 law 376/2000 (anti-doping penal law), for having between them procured, administered or in any case favored the use of substances (among those classified in art. 2 of law 376) not justified by any pathological condition, toward the ends of altering the performances of athletes on the Fuji-Servetto professional cycling team, or otherwise to modify the anti-doping controls by the use of such pharmaceuticals and, among these, substances containing testosterone: in Mariana Mantovan and elsewhere, up to the end of 30 April 2009.’

Others previously linked to the investigation by the Italian media include many who either raced with the Lampre ISD team in the past or who are currently part of the squad, including Alessandro Ballan, Mauro Santambrogio, Marco Bandiera, Emanuele Bindi, Marzio Bruseghin, Damiano Cunego, Mauro Da Dalto, Francesco Gavazzi, Mirko Lorenzetto, Manuele Mori, Simone Ponzi, Francesco Tomei and Daniele Pietropolli.

Also implicated were Lampre’s general manager Giuseppe Saronni plus directeurs sportifs Fabrizio Bontempi and Maurizio Piovani, and the soigneur Fabio Della Torre.

Non-Lampre riders include Francesco Bonazzi, Geo Bonazzi, Paolo Bossoni, Nicola Castrini, Pietro Caucchioli, Sergio Gelati, Roberto Messina, Massimiliano Mori, Paolo Pezzi, Mariano Piccoli and Michael Rasmussen, as well as the mountain bike rider Sebastian Gilmozzi and the footballer Matteo Zambroni.

In a long career, Ibarguren Taus has worked with a range of top cycling teams. He was with Lotto in 1999 when the former Festina soigneur Willy Voet implied he had been involved in doping riders the previous year; Ibarguren said the Belgian was a liar. He then moved to Banesto for the 2000 and 2001 seasons, then spent the next three years with Lampre.

During July 2002 a Lampre-branded camper van was stopped by the police and suitcases allegedly belonging to the Spaniard were found to contain corticoids and syringes. He moved to Euskaltel in 2005 then, after being released, transferred to Saunier Duval for the 2007 to 2009 period.

The team came under fire in the second of those three years when Riccardo Ricco tested positive for CERA during the Tour de France. The team was expelled from the race and Leonardo Piepoli was later also found to have used banned products.

Saunier Duval walked away and the team competed in 2009 under the title of Fuji Servetto. La Gazzetta printed a transcript of what it states was a phone tap from that same year today. That appears to show the Spaniard asking the Italian to provide him with unspecified substances unbeknownst to Mauro Gianetti, the team’s under-pressure manager.

Ibarguren: "Now I'm going to send you a fax. But send the stuff to my home!"

Nigrelli: "All right, after you give me the address."

Ibarguren: "With a copy of the invoice for the transportation and afterwards give the receipt to the usual one, that guy!"

Nigrelli: "To the usual one! Jose, write to me what you want..."

Ibarguren: "I want a little something! Not much, because Gianetti doesn't want it...what you sent me for the Vuelta I kept at home."

La Gazzetta poses the question as to why a doctor in Alicante would want to contact a pharmacist from Mariana Matovana, 1600 kilometres away.

Since then, the Spaniard has worked with the Omega Pharma Lotto team in 2010 and 2011 and, after that squad split, with the Omega Pharma Quick Step squad this year.

In that time riders such as Philippe Gilbert and Tom Boonen have competed in the team’s colours. The current investigation refers to an earlier time and doesn’t make the claim that Ibarguren has broken rules after leaving the Spanish team.

However with the Mantova investigation ramping up, the dominant Omega Pharma Quick Step is likely to come under increasing pressure to suspend its ties with him.


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