2002 Worlds: The elite men's podium (L-R) of Robbie McEwen (Australia), Mario Cipollini (Italy) and Erik Zabel (Germany)
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Former Italian sprinter facing knee surgery
Mario Cipollini is in hospital in his home town of Lucca after reportedly being hit by a car while training near his home.
According to reports in the Italian media, Cipollini has suffered a lesion to his knee and quadriceps muscle and is likely to undergo surgery to treat his injuries.
Initial reports suggest a car turned off the road infront of Cipollini and he hit the rear of the car with his knee.
Cipollini retired from racing in 2008 after a long career that saw him win hundreds of sprints and earn him the nickname of SuperMario. He launched his own bike brand in recent years and was due to present a new time trial bike at the Eurobike show in Friedrichshafen, Germany, at the end of August.
Cipollini was known for his sprinting skills and his flamboyant personality. He was also implicated in the Operacion Puerto doping scandals after Gazzetta dello Sport reported he was a regular client of Dr. Eufemiano Fuentes during the height of his career. The Italian is said to have been given blood transfusions, EPO and growth hormones in 2002, when he won amongst other the World Championship title and Milan-San Remo. A report by the French Senate in 2013 also claimed that traces of EPO were found in a urine sample from Cipollini collected during the 1998 Tour de France.
Cipollini has always dismissed the reports and refused to discuss them with Cyclingnews during the 2013 Giro d'Italia.
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