Doping: Lampre coach Bontempi heard in Petacchi case
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Thursday, August 26, 2010

Doping: Lampre coach Bontempi heard in Petacchi case

by Samuel Morrison at 6:18 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Doping
 
CONI hear widens investigation of Petacchi and Bernucci following confession

The Italian Olympic Committee (CONI) is widening its doping investigation into Tour de France green jersey winner, Alessandro Petacchi. Its prosecutors heard Lampre's sports director, Fabrizio Bontempi, and masseur, Paolo Chiesa yesterday in Rome.

CONI's prosecutors called Bontempi and Chiesa following the confession of Petacchi's Lampre team-mate, Lorenzo Bernucci, Tuesday.

Italian newspaper La Gazzetta dello Sport reported that Bernucci said, "I accept full responsibility" during the hearing.

Bernucci accepted responsibility for possessing banned pharmaceuticals. Police searched his home in April and found the pharmaceuticals, though, they found nothing in simultaneous searches of properties owned by Petacchi and his wife.

Padova prosecutor, Benedetto Roberti called for the searches. He claims that Petacchi used synthetic blood Perfluorocarbon (PFC) and human serum albumin in 2009. Both Petacchi and Bernucci remained silent in a hearing by Italy's Anti-Narcotics Group (NAS) July 28, only three days after Petacchi won the green jersey in Paris.

Their defence changed Tuesday. Petacchi spoke for 2.5 hours with CONI prosecutor, Tammaro Maiello, and Bernucci confessed. Bernucci, though, may be taking the blame and allowing Petacchi to continue racing, starting with the Vuelta a España Saturday in Sevilla, Spain. For this reason, CONI heard in Bontempi, Chiesa, Riccardo Chiarini (De Rosa-Stac Plastic) and three others yesterday.

CONI will recommend to shelf the case or a suspension by Tuesday, after the Vuelta a España has started. Petacchi flew to Spain last night from Milan, but may return quickly if CONI recommends a suspension. He risks receiving a four-year to life ban since he already served a suspension in 2008 for excessive use of asthma medication, Salbutamol.

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