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The Italian team are presented before the race. It would prove to be a good day for the girls in blue.
Prosecutors investigating team for doping practices
Eugenio Bani has said that his former team Ambra Cavallini Vangi “forced” him to take medications and that he did not know what they were. The 18-year-old, who tested positive for the pregnancy hormone HcG (Human chorionic gonadotrophin), has signed for this year with Amore & Vita despite a 21-month ban within Italy.
“I never took substances myself,” Bani told the Gazzetta dello Sport. Team representatives “forced me constantly to take the substances. I was frequently injected with liquids. I was told they were important for my recovery from races.”
Bani has filed suit against the team and public prosecutors are investigating. According to the Italian newspaper La Repubblica, the investigation has uncovered everything from intravenous and intramuscular ampoules, folic acid, vitamins, painkillers, and stimulants, as well as syringes stored in the refrigerator.
He said he was surprised by the positive control last summer, saying he never took any medication on his own. “The only people who were giving me things were from the team,” Bani said.
"The fact is you have to trust the team,” Bani noted. “That is the system. Otherwise there is no place for you, either there or in any other team. I am convinced that this is the case in many if not all youth teams.”
Once a week he was given injections. "They said they were vitamins, were taken out of the refrigerator, already packaged in syringes. I have asked many times what was inside and always reassured me: tonics to regain strength. In the end what should you do? You trust them.”
Despite everything, the youngster did not see the situation as hopeless. “We must start from here to review everything. What has happened to me can happen to anyone. I am convinced that I was not the only one who took the substance unwittingly. Only I have tested positive."
Bani is looking forward to returning to racing with Ivan Fanini's Amore & Vita team. “I know I have the right qualities. I will show that you can ride clean even at the highest level. And I will succeed.”