Pellizotti to lose Tour de France King of the Mountains title plus Giro results
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Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Pellizotti to lose Tour de France King of the Mountains title plus Giro results

by Shane Stokes at 2:12 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Doping
Costly loss for Italian, with two year ban and €115,000 fine

Franco PellizottiIn addition to incurring a two year ban today as a result of his guilty verdict before the Court of Arbitration for Sport, the Italian rider Franco Pellizotti stands to lose his Giro d’Italia stage win and third place overall, as well as his Tour de France King of the Mountains title plus Combativity prize.

All of his results have been scratched since May 7th 2009, wiping out what was achieved in the Giro and Tour of that year.

Pellizotti was one of the most aggressive riders in both races, soloing to victory on the Giro’s 17th stage to Blockhaus. He beat Stefano Garzelli (Acqua & Sapone), Danilo Di Luca (LPR Brakes) and Denis Menchov (Rabobank) by over 40 seconds, and ended the Giro one minute 59 seconds behind Denis Menchov.

With Danilo Di Luca’s own positive case, he would have moved up to second place overall in the standings had he too not been nabbed by the testers.

While his overall classification push at the Tour was unsuccessful due to time lost, he targeting the mountains classification and was the clear winner there. He racked up 210 points, beating Egoi Martinez (Euskaltel-Euskadi) and Alberto Contador (Astana) by 75 and 84 points respectively, and secured podium time in Paris as a result.

Those results were being questioned, though, as the UCI’s biological passport was monitoring the rider and noting possible abnormalities. It soon became clear that there were telling fluctuations in his blood parameters. On May 3rd 2010, five days before the Giro start, the UCI requested Italian Olympic Committee (CONI) to open an investigation into the rider. CONI recommended a two-year ban, but this was subsequently reversed by the Italian National Anti-Doping Tribunal (TNA) on October 21st.

However CAS has now backed the UCI’s appeal of that decision. “In its decision rendered today, the CAS has partially admitted the appeal filed by the UCI and has annulled the CONI decision,” it said, apparently confusing the latter with the TNA. “The CAS Panel has noted the violation by Franco Pellizotti of the anti-doping rules prohibiting the enhancement of oxygen transfer and has imposed on him a two-year ban starting on 3 May 2010, date corresponding to his temporary internal suspension.”

There are two further penalties for the rider: that aforementioned disqualification of his results from May 7th 2009, and also a financial sanction of €115, 000. He will also lose his appeal calling for the reimbursing of his costs before CAS.

In August 2009, outspoken doping critic Ivano Fanini, president of Continental squad Amore & Vita-McDonalds, accused the-then Liquigas rider of working with the controversial doctor Michelle Ferrari. “There is evidence that Dr. Ferrari, in the weeks preceding the Tour de France, rode on a scooter between Livigno and Saint Morritz following a number of riders, including Nibali and Pellizotti, with a stopwatch in hand," he said in La Repubblica.

The two riders started an anti-defamation action against Fanini as a result. Ferrari has long been accused of supplying banned substances to riders, and was convicted of sporting fraud and abusing his medical license to write prescriptions in 2004. This decision was overturned in 2006 due to the statute of limitations.

Today’s verdict is both good news for the biological passport, and bad news for Pelizotti’s career. He had been poised to return to action right away had he been successful, and indeed because of that desire to resume racing, had requested an expedited verdict from CAS.

Had he been successful, he would have joined Team Movistar. Now, though, he faces another 14 months on the sidelines, bringing him up to 34 years of age, and handing him a tough quest to find a new team.


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