Cipollini turns up at the Giro d'Italia

Former world champion refuses to answer questions about working with Fuentes

Mario Cipollini was at the start of stage 17 of the Giro d'Italia in Caravaggio, making a rare public appearance after being accused of working with Dr. Eufemiano Fuentes by Gazzetta dello Sport.

The Italian sports newspaper reported that Cipollini was identified by the code name of Maria in documents seized in Fuentes' Madrid laboratory.

The records and detailed "treatment" calendars for his outstanding 2002 season reportedly revealed that Cipollini underwent a blood transfusion three days before Milan-San Remo and further transfusions before Gent-Wevelgem, the start of the Vuelta and a last one four days before he won the world title in Zolder.

Cipollini denied the reports in Gazzetta dello Sport via press release from his lawyer Giuseppe Napoleone, saying they were "false and absurd accusations".

The former world champion and sprinter was at the Giro d'Italia as a guest of the Vini Fantini team, who use his Cipollini bikes. He was happy to sign autographs and pose for photographs with fans but refused to respond to questions from Cyclingnews about the reports in Gazzetta dello Sport. The Italian monthly magazine Cycling Pro also tried to speak to Cipollini and was similarly refused.

Napoleone refused to confirm or deny if Cipollini had begun legal action against Gazzetta dello Sport, saying that they would communicate their plans when they saw fit.

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