Bernucci accepts doping ban and works in cafe
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Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Bernucci accepts doping ban and works in cafe

by Samuel Morrison at 6:10 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Doping
'I was wrong and will pay' cyclist Lorenzo Bernucci admits he will pay the price for doping. Alessandro Petacchi's former helper has already started a new career, working in a cafe.

"What more can I say? Nothing, everything was written," Bernucci told La Gazzetta dello Sport last month.

The Italian anti-doping tribunal (TNA) yesterday gave him a five-year ban. Its decision stems from police raid of Bernucci's home in April. They found synthetic blood Perfluorocarbon (PFC), which he initially explained was for his brother Alessio, an amateur cyclist.

The TNA gave his brother a three-year ban. Bernucci's wife Valentina Borgioli, mother Antonella Rossi and father-in-law Fabrizio Borgioli received four years. The TNA suspensions prohibit them from attending or participating in sporting events.

Bernucci, 31, won a stage of the Tour de France in 2005, but has now lost all hope of participating in races. He works at one of Borgioli's cafes, Le dive cattive ('The Bad Dive'). The cafe is Seano, near the Tuscan town of Prato and Bernucci's home in Sarzana.

"Attempting to use banned substances was my choice, we were on the eve of the Tour of Flanders and a number of important races, I did not want to betray the team's expectations," added Bernucci. "So, I had the temptation to help myself. Again, I was wrong and will pay."

Bernucci travelled to Rome yesterday to hear the TNA's ruling with is wife. He was upset by the TNA's decision to suspend his family members.

"At first my brother had decided to take the blame, but in August I had already made it clear that the responsibility was mine alone.

"I'm waiting to know the reasons, but this sentence was already decided. They saw one thing for another, the prosecution wrote its script and the TNA believed it."

Valentina Borgioli had sent an SMS during the police raids to her father.

"Go home," Borgioli wrote, "and throw away the stuff behind the wardrobe."

Police also searched Petacchi's home and his other properties during the April raids. They found nothing, but there are reports that Bernucci took the blame for his former Lampre team-mate.

After winning the green jersey at the Tour de France last year, Petacchi questioned in the case. The Italian Olympic Committee (CONI), however, has yet to rule on him. If it does, it could recommend an equally long suspension due to a prior offence. Petacchi previously served a nine-month ban after excessive use of the asthma inhaler Salbutamol during the 2007 Giro d'Italia.

Bernucci also had already served a suspension, one year. He tested positive for weight loss drug Sibutramine at the Tour of Germany in 2007.


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