Natalino Moletta, father of Gerolsteiner's Andrea Moletta, has denied that Viagra tablets were found in his car as he was on his way to the Giro d'Italia earlier this week. "I categorically deny that Viagra tablets were found in my car. The only thing was a painkiller I carry for my personal use," he said on Friday. The team removed Andrea Moletta from the Giro and placed him on inactive status following the disclosure of his father's involvement in a possible doping case.
Moletta senior and Luigino Miotti were stopped by the Italian Guardia Finanza on Tuesday. Miotti previously managed small amateur teams, and according to Italian media, has faced doping charges in the past. Initial reports said that 82 packages of Viagra were found in the car, plus a disposable syringe in a toothpaste tube and a cooler containing unidentified products.
According to tuttobiciweb.it, searchers found a "suspect vial" in the car's luggage compartment, plus 13 bottles containing liquid, which led to a search of the homes of the two men. 130 lozenges "similar to Viagra" were found at Miotti's house, after which the Moletta house was searched. The bottles, which were said to branded with Cyrillic letters and marked "for Andrea", were to be sent to a laboratory for an analysis of their contents. Moletta senior said that they were mineral water.
Fabio Pavone, the Molettas' attorney, said that the vial found in the car was a painkiller that Moletta senior needs for his back problems, and that nothing suspect was taken at the Moletta home, where the son also lives.
"I was in the wrong place with the wrong person," Natalino Moletta said. "It displeases me for my son Andrea." According to Pavone, Moletta senior "is very upset, because the image and career of his son Andrea have been compromised for something which is not his fault".
According to the newspaper Il Gazzettino, Andrea Moletta issued a statement saying: "The dream of a lifetime - to arrive at the finish of stage of the Giro d'Italia in my hometown - has vanished because of something that does not even pertain to me. After what happened to me [breaking his femur in last year's Milano-Sanremo] and all the sacrifices I made to return, this is really incredible."
Gerolsteiner spokesman Jörg Grünefeld told Sport1.de that Andrea Moletta would remain suspended until it was proven that the packages were not for him or for anyone on the Gerolsteiner team. "We are trying to get information from the investigators," he said. "Only when it has been definitely proven that the questionable contents were for Riders X and Y, and for Team Z, and not for Gerolsteiner or Andrea Moletta, then he could possibly ride for us again." (SW)