Franco Pellizotti (Liquigas) has been cleared of doping charges by the Italian national anti-doping court (TNA), “because there aren’t enough elements to prove the cyclist guilty of blood manipulation”, stated the release by the Italian justice.
Pellizotti was suspended by the UCI on May 3rd after irregular values were detected in his biological passport. He missed the Giro d’Italia and was replaced in the Liquigas-Doimo line-up by Vincenzo Nibali, who then skipped the Tour de France but went on to win the Vuelta a Espana.
“I’m very satisfied with this outcome and it couldn’t be any different than my name being cleared”, said the winner of the mountains classification in the 2009 Tour de France following the hearing by the TNA. “But it has ruined my whole season and I’ll ask the UCI to pay for the damages.”
Pellizotti looked relieved but ready to fight as he was finally able to smile after months of legal battles.
The prosecutor had asked for a two year ban, but the court president Francesco Plotino has declared Pellizotti cleared. During the Giro d’Italia, when they announced the signing of Ivan Basso and Nibali for two more years, the president of Liquigas sport Paolo Dal Lago and team manager Roberto Amadio said Pellizotti was welcome back in the team.
They remained very sceptical about the doping accusations towards the curly-haired rider from Friuli who was also defended by team doctor Roberto Corsetti. Now they can sign him again as Pellizotti’s career will resume at the beginning of 2011.