By Shane Stokes
Retired Italian cyclist Mario Cipollini made many headlines during his career but he is now in the news for a very different reason. According to several sources, the renowned ladies' man was questioned by the carabiniere in recent days after police swooped on what they said was a suspected brothel in the Tuscan countryside. They took him temporarily into custody on suspicion that he was running the red-light business.
During his career, the 2002 world champion was renowned for his antics and self-confessed womanising, with Cipollini once stating that if he wasn't a top rider, he would like to work in the porn industry.
Cyclingnews contacted the Lucchese lothario for comment about the latest allegations. He laughed off reports that he was in charge of a massage parlour, saying that it was all a big misunderstanding. When asked how it was that he was found in a building with 274 scantily-clad females, he said that there was a simple explanation.
"For my 40th birthday [22 March - ed.], I rented out a chateau and held a big bash there," he said. "And, to make it special, I invited some of my ex-girlfriends to be present for the weekend. That's all there is to it.
"It's obvious that one of the many past conquests I didn't ask called the police and spread these rumours. Ah, it's incredible what jealousy can do."
Cyclingnews understands that the police have now ended its investigation. "Rather than prosecute the matter, we have had a look at things and decided instead to ask Signor Cipollini for some tips," said one senior officer.