Leali defensive after following GiroBio drug bust
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Sunday, June 13, 2010

Leali defensive after following GiroBio drug bust

by Samuel Morrison at 7:29 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Doping
Leali reacts following GiroBio decision

Bruno Leali's Lucchini-Unidelta team, as reported earlier on VeloNation, was banned from starting the GiroBio yesterday in Novi Ligure, Italy. Police raids Friday night revealed banned drugs and medicines without prescriptions.

Team Manager Leali said today that he plans to defend himself against the organisers strict application of the rules.

"It was a small error on my part. I planned on using them only after I had a prescription and I carried them so, when needed, I could react faster," Leali told La Gazzetta dello Sport.

"Now, I will wait to see what happens. I plan on getting a lawyer, though, to defend myself."

The police acted on an ongoing investigation in Padova, which, in April, centred on professional Lorenzo Bernucci. The Anti-Narcotics Group (NAS) carried out, in Brescia and Savona, five separate searches: Lucchini-Unidelta's GiroBio hotel and training base, and Leali's home, car and hotel room. After the raids, NAS officials also interrogated Leali and his six cyclists.

Leali's team won the opening stage to Cairo Montenotte Friday thanks to Omar Lombardi. The result stood, but Lombardi and his five team-mates – Eugenio Alafaci, Luca Benedetti, Mirco Bertolani, Emanuele Moschen and Renzo Zanelli – left the GiroBio.

The week-long GiroBio is the Under 27 version of the three-week Giro d'Italia, this year won by Ivan Basso. Last year, the GiroBio organiser introduced several new rules to ensure a clean race and to help steer young cyclists in the right direction.

Colombian Cayetano Sarmiento won last year's edition ahead of Italian Manuele Caddeo and Brit Peter Kennaugh.

"We not only have doping controls, but a kind of biological passport," said head of the race's medical team, Luigi Simonetto. "Before the start, all the teams have to present to us any medicines and supplements to our staff, but we will only use them, according to prescriptions and based on needs."

"Leali's team broke the rules," said race organiser, Giancarlo Brocci. "I'm sorry for them, but it is out of respect for the other cyclists and our project."

Based on the rules, the Russian team was unable to start the race. The medical team made its decision after the Russian team arrived at the GiroBio without proper prescriptions for its medicines and supplements.

The GiroBio continues today to Ghedi with Gianluca Leonardi (Marchiol) as the leader. The Italian won stage two yesterday to claim the overall and points classification.


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