Leonardo Bertagnolli announces his retirement amid Biological Passport investigation
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Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Leonardo Bertagnolli announces his retirement amid Biological Passport investigation

by Ben Atkins at 10:19 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Doping
 
Lampre-ISD rider faces UCI disciplinary procedure in addition to CONI hearing over alleged links to Ferrari

leonardo bertagnolliThe International Cycling Union (UCI) has announced that it has commenced disciplinary proceedings against Lampre-ISD’s Leonardo Bertagnolli, just as the rider announced his retirement from professional cycling. The 34-year-old Italian has already been summoned to appear before the Italian Olympic Committee’s anti-doping prosecutor, over allegedly working with notorious banned sports doctor Michele Ferrari, but now also faces doping charges over analytical evidence.

“After having informed all the parties concerned (rider, National Federation, team, National Anti-Doping Organisation and the World Anti-Doping Agency), the International Cycling Union International Cycling Union (UCI) announces that a disciplinary procedure has been requested against the Italian rider Leonardo Bertagnolli for apparent violation of the Anti-Doping Rules on the basis of the information provided by the blood profile in his biological passport,” reads the UCI statement.

Bertagnolli preempted the UCI announcement however, with a statement through his agent that announces his retirement from the sport with immediate effect. The statement mentions neither the new UCI procedure - nor the existing CONI summons - despite the fact that the rider had been officially informed before the UCI made its announcement; it simply thanks those teams that he has ridden for in his ten year career.

"By agreement with the Lampre team, I decided that the Italian Championship was the last race of my career,” he said. “I thank [Lampre-ISD general manager Giuseppe] Saronni and the Galbusera family for welcoming me in these last years of my professional career, and of course all my previous team managers and sponsors who have always supported me and shared the happy moments with me.”

Having originally summonsed both Bertagnolli and Lampre-ISD captain Michele Scarponi to appear before it today, CONI has agreed to postpone the hearings of the two riders. Scarponi is to start the Tour de France on Saturday and had requested to move the hearing to a date after the race; CONI does not elaborate on Bertagnolli’s reason for requesting a postponement however.

While the UCI has opened a disciplinary procedure against Bertagnolli, it does stress that he has not yet been officially convicted or sanctioned.

“The rider shall be accorded the right to the presumption of innocence until a final decision has been made on this matter,” the UCI statement continues. “Under the World Anti-Doping Code and the UCI Anti-Doping Rules, the UCI is unable to provide any additional information at this time.”

Should be be found guilty however, by either the UCI or CONI, his announced retirement would be irrelevant, and he would be looking at a potentially lengthy ban from the sport.

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