Former European under-23 champion Graziano Gasparre, who underwent surgery to remove a tumour in Reggio Emilia last week, has blamed doping for causing the growth, according to Gazzetta dello Sport, ANSA and a number of other Italian sources.
Gasparre, who raced for Mapei, De Nardi and Amore & Vita during a professional career that lasted from 2001 to 2009, had a tumour removed from his left buttock last Friday. The 34-year-old Italian is now awaiting the histology report.
“The operation went as expected and I must thank my mother who has been so close to me in this difficult time, as well as Professor Ghinelli and his medical team,” Gasparre said.
Gasparre is reported to have told his former manager at Amore & Vita, Ivano Fanini, that he believes the tumour was a consequence of doping during his racing career.
“If today I’m stricken by this problem, it’s probably the fault of doping,” Gasparre told Fanini, according to Gazzetta. “For many years, to remain at a certain level, I had to adhere to the system, ruining my health and not just that.”
Gasparre won the European championships in Kielce, Poland in 2000, capping a hugely successful final season as an amateur that also saw him win the Giro delle Regioni and Ronde de l’Isard stage races.
As a neo-professional at Mapei, he won a stage of the Tour de l’Avenir and twice completed the Giro d’Italia during his spell at De Nardi. ANSA notes that Gasparre has provided information to anti-doping investigators in Florence in the past, and is due to publish a book on his experiences in cycling. Gasparre hung up his wheels in 2009.