CONI opens anti-doping file on Mario Cipollini
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Monday, February 11, 2013

CONI opens anti-doping file on Mario Cipollini

by Ben Atkins at 12:23 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Doping
 
Reports in Gazzetta dello Sport cause Italian authorities to investigate former World champion

mario cipolliniThe Anti-doping prosecutor of the Italian Olympic Committee (CONI) has announced that it has opened a file on former World champion Mario Cipollini. Reports in la Gazzetta dello Sport this weekend alleged that the charismatic “Super Mario” had been a client of controversial Spanish doctor Eufemiano Fuentes, and had been known by the codename “Maria” in the files that were seized from Fuentes’ office in the Operacion Puerto raids in 2006.

Further to its weekend stories, Gazzetta has alleged today that Cipollini was one of Fuentes’ very first clients, and began working with him as early as 2001, and paid the doctor more than €130,000 over the next four years.

The Italian retired from cycling following the 2005 Milano-Sanremo, where he finished a lowly 37th at the back of the first peloton, but returned briefly for what was little more than a Tour of California cameo for Rock Racing in February 2008. Should the Statute of Limitations (SOL) of eight years be applied to the “Re Leone”, and should he be convicted of a doping offence, he could potentially be struck from these results, but would hold onto the bulk of his career results.

Cipollini won the fourth stage of the 2005 Tour of Qatar, but he would stand to keep this as - since it was won on February 3rd - it was eight days earlier than the eight year SOL would be able to touch; he could stand to lose his very last professional victory, however, which was the Giro della Provincia di Lucca, won on March 7th.

As one of the foremost sprinters of the 1990’s, Cipollini won the most career stages of the Giro d’Italia, with 42, eclipsing the great Alfredo Binda’s record in 2003. Even if he were convicted of a doping offence, he would be unlikely to be stripped of any of these, but much of the shine would be taken off the achievement.

Since his second retirement, Cipollini has created his own Italian-made range of bikes, which are currently ridden by Professional Continental teams Vini Fantini-Selle Italia and Bardiani Valvole-CSF Inox, and UCI women's team Cipollini-Giordana.



Also see - Analysis: Cipollini’s 2002 ‘retirement’ may tie in with alleged doping programme
 

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