By Gregor Brown
The doping case against Italian cyclist Andrea Moletta was shelved last week by Padova prosecutor Claudio Marassi, but the rider from Cittadella now faces a difficult team search. The Gerolsteiner rider, 29, was suspended in May when his father was questioned about Viagra tablets and other substances.
"Everything is okay. I heard the news last Tuesday," Moletta told Cyclingnews. "It was a very difficult period for me. To be accused of something that you don't know anything about is terrible."
Team Gerolsteiner pulled Moletta from the Giro d'Italia and placed him on inactive status after Italian Guardia Finanza stopped his father and questioned him about the Viagra tablets and unidentified fluids. Both father and son denied any knowledge of or participation in any doping.
His last race was in the Giro stage to Urbino on May 20, but Gerolsteiner continues to pay him through the end of 2008 when the team is due to disband. (Read: Gerolsteiner's forgotten riders)
Moletta has continued to train with locals Filippo Pozzato, Alessandro Ballan and Davide Rebellin while his lawyer Fabio Pavone helped the case move through the justice system. Now that the case has been shelved, he can safely look for a 2009 team.
"The problem is to find a new team - there is not a lot of money around," he said. "It would be hard to find a team even if I have not done anything, but, you know, once someone says something you are viewed wrongly."
His best mate and former Gerolsteiner rider Rebellin will likely go to Team Diquigiovanni, a team that already boasts Gilberto Simoni. Moletta admitted the budget on the team is limited with two big stars.
"The problem is to find a team and someone who believes in me," he said. "I have put out my requests, but no one has called."