Enrico Rossi arrested in Italian anti-doping raids, other professionals amongst 35 facing charges
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Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Enrico Rossi arrested in Italian anti-doping raids, other professionals amongst 35 facing charges

by Shane Stokes at 6:19 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Doping
 
Major swoops this morning see 40 locations searched

DopingProfessional rider Enrico Rossi is one of 35 people who have been arrested in doping raids in Perugia in Italy. The Ceramica Flaminia rider is the brother of Vania Rossi, former partner of Riccardo Riccò, who provided a positive A sample for CERA last January but was cleared when her B sample was inconclusive.

Rossi is one of six who have been detailed pending trial, with 35 in total facing charges in relation to a doping network. According to La Gazzetta Dello Sport, those detained include a pro rider, two amateurs, a publicity agent, a pharmacist and a hospital nurse. They have been charged with the illegal trafficking of drugs used to defraud sporting contests. In total six professional riders, 15 amateurs, sports professionals, physicians, pharmacists and gym users are believed to be amongst the 35 involved.

Codenamed Cobra-Red, the operation is based on raids carried out this morning by the Italian doping police NAS. 40 searches were made between the provinces of Rimini, Forlì-Cesena, Modena, Prato, Bergamo, Reggio Emilia, Milan, Pistoia, Parma, Latin, Perugia and Bari.

Rossi’s sister Vania is the mother of Riccardo Riccò’s son. She is the former partner of Riccò, who tested positive for CERA during the 2008 Tour de France and served a lengthy ban. She herself failed a test for the EPO product earlier this year, following tests taken on January 10th when she finished second in the Italian cyclo cross championships.

She protested her innocence and was cleared when her B sample was indicative of the use of CERA but didn’t exceed the necessary threshold. At the time it was suggested that degradation of the urine sample was a possible reason for the differences between A and B samples. The Italian Olympic Committee CONI said that the result did not satisfy “the minimum levels of Cera required to satisfy the criteria of the World Anti-Doping Agency.”

Riccò broke up with her as a result of the positive A sample, saying he didn’t want it to affect his career. He competed with the Ceramica Flaminia team until August of this year, then signed a two year deal with Vacansoleil. Cobra is his nickname but while this corresponds with the Cobra-Red name of the anti-doping operation, it is has not been revealed if this is purely coincidental. Rossi is the Italian word for red. 

Enrico Rossi has been a professional for four years. His results this season include first in the Dwars Door Drenthe, third on stage four of the Vuelta a Burgos, the Châteauroux Classic de l’Indre and the Giro del Friuli. The 28 year old was also fourth in the Trofeo Laigueglia, fifth in Memorial Rik Van Steenbergen and sixth in Paris-Brussels.

According to La Gazzetta dello Sport, a hypoxic tent was discovered today in searches of his home. These high-altitude simulators are banned in Italy. It is not yet known if doping substances were also seized, or what else he is being charged with.

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