Liquigas’ ‘Operation Transparency’ begins tomorrow
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Thursday, February 04, 2010

Liquigas’ ‘Operation Transparency’ begins tomorrow

by Conal Andrews at 6:46 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Doping
 

In an effort to prove that the Liquigas team is acting ethically and with transparency, six journalists will oversee a two-week training camp being held by Ivan Basso, Roman Kreuziger, Vincenzo Nibali, Franco Pellizotti and Sylvester Szmyd.

Departing tomorrow, the riders will fly to Tenerife, where they will stay until February 19th. The group will stay at an altitude of 2000 metres above sea level, being based at Mount Teide.

The media contingent will comprise of print journalists and those from television, and they will take turns in interacting with the riders, conducting interviews and seeing what work is being done.

Basso, Kreuziger, Nibali, Pellizotti and Szmyd will work with the coach Paolo Slongo there. The athletic aim is to increase their endurance and strength as part of their preparation for the Grand Tours later this year, while an additional goal is to show the media there is nothing to be hidden.

Claims were made last August by Ivano Fanini, president of Continental squad Amore & Vita-McDonald, that Pellizotti and Nibali had been training with controversial doctor Michele Ferrari in Livigno before this year's Tour de France. The two riders initiated legal proceedings against the La Repubblica newspaper, in which Fanini’s allegations were printed.

Six years ago, Ferrari was convicted of sporting fraud and abusing his medical license to write prescriptions. His medical licence was suspended for a year and he was fined €900, but he was able to overturn this ruling on appeal as the statute of limitations had expired on evidence presented in the original case.

Many teams forbid their riders from working with him, and the Italian Olympic Committee CONI reportedly has the power to suspend riders who are found to be doing so.

Basso is aiming to win the Giro d’Italia this season and also to return to top form in the Tour de France, four years after he was prevented from starting the 2006 edition. He received a 16 month suspension for his part in Operacion Puerto, but has worked with anti-doping doctor Aldo Sassi since his return to racing. He regularly displays the results of his blood screenings online, and has been commended for his transparency.

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