Former pro Lorenzo Bernucci and various family members have all been banned for three to five years on doping charges, the Italian Olympic Committee announced on Monday. The charges stem from a search of Bernucci's house in April 2010, when drugs were found.
Bernucci, who admitted to doping, was given a five-year ban, running through February 6, 2016. His wife, Valentina Borgioli, his mother, Antonella Rossi, and his father-in-law Fabrizio Borgioli, were given four years. His brother, Alessio Bernucci, received a three-year ban. Bernucci denied that any of them were involved.
The family members are not athletes but are barred from attending certain sporting facilities and events in Italy.
Bernucci, 31, faced a life-time ban, as it was his second violation. He was previously banned for two years after testing positive in 2009 for the appetite suppressant Sibutramine.
His home was searched in April 2010, and he claimed at the time that the drugs which were found belonged to his wife and brother.
“What more can I say? Nothing. It’s all been published,” Bernucci told Gazzetta dello Sport.
“The attempt to use illegal doping products was my choice. It was just before Flanders and a series of important races. I didn’t want to fail to live up to the expectations of the team. That’s why I was tempted to ‘help myself’. As I said it was a mistake and I’ll pay the price.”
Bernucci insisted that his family was not involved.
“At first my brother thought about accepting responsibility but in August I admitted it was all my doing. I’m waiting for the written verdict because they’ve mixed things up. The prosecutors have made a big deal out of it and the TNA (the Italian Anti-doping Tribunal) believed them. I went to Rome with my wife (for the hearing) but it didn’t make any difference, they didn’t believe me.”
Bernucci turned pro in 2002 and rode with Landbouwkrediet-Colnago, Fassa Bortolo, T-Mobile, LPF Brakes-Farnese Vini and Lampre-Farnese Vini. In 2005 he won a stage at the Tour de France.
Alessandro Petacchi was also involved in the investigation. He has denied any wrong doing and no action has been taken against him. Petacchi, who rides for Lampre-ISD, has announced he will not ride the Tours of Qatar and Oman due to bronchitis.