Pellizotti's CAS doping hearing in March
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Thursday, January 27, 2011

Pellizotti's CAS doping hearing in March

by Samuel Morrison at 7:27 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Doping
 
CAS schedules hearing date to decide on biological passport doping case

Italian Franco Pellizotti has to wait until March know if he will race again. The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS), according to La Gazzetta dello Sport, announced it will hear his doping case between March 3 and 5.

Pellizotti has not raced since last May, when the International Cycling Union (UCI) used its biological passport system to spot suspicious anti-doping values. On May 3, the UCI asked the Italian authorities to open an investigation. The findings cast a shadow on Pellizotti's 2009 results: second overall at the Giro d'Italia and winner of the mountains competition at the Tour de France.

The Italian Olympic Committee (CONI) investigated the UCI's findings and recommended a two-year suspension. However, the Italian anti-doping tribunal (TNA) disagreed, ruling on October 21 that there was not sufficient evidence to prove doping. On January 12, the UCI appealed the TNA's decision to the CAS to protect its biological passport.

Pellizotti now has to wait, even if he already has an agreement with Spanish team Movistar.

"I don't feel well. I know I can race, but I still have to wait. The waiting is long," he told Tuttobiciweb.com. "I am paying. Everyone knows time is important for a cyclist, even one month. I am no longer a youngster."

The CAS should rule within five days of the hearing, by March 10. Pellizotti is not waiting. His lawyer, Rocco Taminelli said earlier this month that Pellizotti will sue the UCI for €200,000 in legal costs and psychological damage resulting from the trial. In addition, he plans to ask for compensation of lost earnings, bringing the total up to €800,000, if the CAS confirms the TNA's acquittal ruling.

The UCI also appealed similar biological passport case involving Slovenian cyclist Tadej Valjavec. The CAS has yet to rule on Valjavec's case.

The biological passport offers a way to signal doping without a traditional positive test. Scientists can plot blood and urine readings over time to be able to recognise irregularities.

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