CONI aiming to ban Bernucci and his family from the sport
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Thursday, December 09, 2010

CONI aiming to ban Bernucci and his family from the sport

by Shane Stokes at 10:47 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Doping
 
Family members allegedly involved in trafficking or administering banned substances

Lorenzo BernucciThe Italian Olympic Committee CONI today announced that it is seeking lengthy bans for Lampre rider Lorenzo Bernucci and several members of his family. CONI prosecutor Ettore Torri is seeking a six year ban for Bernucci, who previously tested positive for the appetite suppressant sibutramine whilst being part of the T-Mobile team in 2007.

The rider has been charged with breaking article 2.2 of the WADA code, namely the use or attempted use by an athlete of a prohibited substance or method, as well as article 2.6, the possession of prohibited substances.

He has recommended a four year ban from any sport-related activities for Bernucci’s wife Valentina Borgioli, his brother Alessio Bernucci, his mother Antonella Rossi and his father-in-law Fabrizio Borgioli. They have all been implicated in serious doping activities.

His wife and mother have been charged with possession, as well as breaking article 2.7 (trafficking or attempted trafficking in banned substances and methods) and article 2.8 (administration or attempted administration to any athlete in competition of any prohibited method or prohibited substance).

His father in law and his brother have been charged with article 2.8, the administration or attempted administration to any athlete in competition of any prohibited method or prohibited substance.

CONI’s didn’t indicate if they are all believed to have committed the offences with Bernucci only, or if other sports people were involved.

Bernucci was linked to doping through an investigation by a prosecutor in Padua, and had his home raided in April of this year. Police reportedly seized the banned blood-booster perfluorocarbon (PFC), as well as human albumin. Bernucci’s wife was stopped before flying out of Pisa airport; it is thought that she might have been intending to bring a banned product to her husband, who was racing the Belgian Classics.

Alessandro PetacchiHis team-mate Alessandro Petacchi is also suspected to have been using the same substances as were taken from Bernucci’s home. It is believed that wiretaps involving the doctor Filippo Manelli of Gavardo in Brescia, as well as raids on the doctor’s house, are an important part of the investigation.

Eugene Capodacqua, a respected journalist with La Repubblica, stated in August that sources close to the investigation had said that Bernucci had confessed. Capodacqua suggested that it could be part of a defence strategy where the smaller rider takes the blame.

Petacchi previously served a nine month sanction after excessive use of the asthma inhaler salbutamol during the 2007 Giro d’Italia. Little is known about the status of his case, but he would face a lengthy ban if he is found guilty of doping.

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