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Phone taps admissable as evidence in Lampre trial

Cycling News
December 11, 2013, 10:38,
December 11, 2013, 10:48
Second Edition Cycling News, Wednesday, December 11, 2013
Giuseppe Saronni (Del Tongo)

Giuseppe Saronni (Del Tongo)

  • Giuseppe Saronni (Del Tongo)
  • Alessandro Ballan going back to the team cars.

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Trial adjourned until January 24

Phone taps will be admissible as evidence in the Lampre doping trial, which began in Mantova on Tuesday and will resume on January 24. According to the Gazzetta di Mantova, Judge Giuditta Silvestrini said that she will allow all documentary evidence from the prosecution and defence, including recordings of phone conversations in which figures linked to the team reportedly discuss doping practices.

28 riders, trainers, pharmacists and doctors, including Alessandro Ballan, Damiano Cunego and Giuseppe Saronni, have been called to trial following a longstanding inquiry, centred around the activities of Mariana Mantovana-based pharmacist Guido Nigrelli and his links to the Lampre team in 2008 and 2009.

Nigrelli, physical trainer Sergio Gelati, Roberto Messina, former Lampre rider Paolo Bossoni and former amateur rider Sebastian Gilmozzi are accused of trafficking doping products, while Lampre manager Saronni, directeurs sportifs Maurizio Piovani and Fabrizio Bontempi, and former rider Mariano Piccoli are accused of procuring doping products.

Finally, past and current riders including Ballan, Cunego, Michael Rasmussen, Mauro Santambrogio, Marco Bandiera, Pietro Caucchioli, Marzio Bruseghin, Marco Bandiera, Daniele Pietropolli, Emanuele Mori, Massimiliano Mori and Mauro Da Dalto stand accused of using doping products.

Former Lampre rider Emanuele Bindi has already pleaded guilty, receiving a one-year suspended sentence, and it is understood that he will be a key witness for the prosecution, which is led by Antonino Condorelli. Gazzetta dello Sport reports that some 250 witnesses will be called by the prosecution.

The prosecution’s case also includes a series of phone taps carried out in 2008 and 2009, some of which were leaked in the Italian press during the inquiry. Many of the recorded phone conversations are reported to have been in local dialect rather than standard Italian, meaning that deciphering the precise wording has been a laborious task.

One transcription reported by Gazzetta dello Sport suggested that Alessandro Ballan underwent a blood transfusion in the spring of 2009, although the former world champion has since claimed that he had undergone ozone therapy to treat the cytomegalovirus.

A 167-page analysis of the amassed evidence, compiled by anti-doping expert Dr. Sandro Donati on behalf of prosecutors, is also reported to include the allegation that Cunego used EPO and other prohibited products, an accusation the former Giro d’Italia winner has dismissed as “nonsense.”

The Italian Olympic Committee (CONI) has entered into a civil lawsuit against the accused in the Mantova trial, seeking compensation of €1 million for damage to the image of Italian sport. CONI;s anti-doping tribunal has already requested a two-year sporting ban for Ballan, with a verdict due in January.

In spite of the fact that its general manager Giuseppe Saronni is among those standing trial in the Mantova doping investigation, the Lampre-Merida team was confirmed as a 2014 WorldTour team by the UCI on Tuesday.

wrinklyvet 11 months ago
"In spite of the fact that its general manager Giuseppe Saronni is among those standing trial in the Mantova doping investigation, the Lampre-Merida team was confirmed as a 2014 WorldTour team by the UCI on Tuesday." Yes, that has to be regarded as fair. There would be no point having a trial if he were to be treated as guilty in advance. That's exactly as it should be and I don't think anyone should be surprised. it will be quite different if it goes badly for him!
curtains 11 months ago
"Finally, past and current riders including Ballan, Cunego, Michael Rasmussen, Mauro Santambrogio ... ": Rasmussen never rode for Lampre, unless he's involved by association. The network is undoubtedly complex, but this reads like he rode for the 'blu-fucsia' squad.
wirral 11 months ago
This will rumble on Italian-style till 2023 by which point nobody will care less and the statute of limitations will kick in. Gotta love Italian justice.
Mark Schwitau 11 months ago
and what country's justice do you suppose we use? Which one is the beacon of light that operates at warp-speed.
wrinklyvet 11 months ago
Well in this case wirral is probably right. It has to be the Italian law. I see the time under their statute of limitations does run until the decision is handed down, not the date when the case was commenced, so as there seems to be the risk that wirral describes.
bianchi1885 11 months ago
CONI and Italy have been tough on doping, compared to other countries who sit idly and watch. It was CONI that went after Valverde (Spaniard). They might not be fast, but they do enforce anti-doping rules.
cantpedal 11 months ago
once some has been charged and the case goes to trial there is no statute of limitations question
wrinklyvet 10 months ago
It doesn't say that in Wikipedia - see Italian Code of Criminal Procedure. The rules for this are not universal so I expect Wiki is right.
wrinklyvet 10 months ago
What it says on the page I refer to is:- "The Italian criminal system has a statute limiting the time for prosecution of all crimes, apart from felonies punishable by life imprisonment, to a period of time equalling the maximum penalty provided for by law, which cannot, though, be less than six years for delitti (felonies) and four years for contravvenzioni (misdemeanours). It is not enough that the criminal suit was started before the statute of limitations ran out: it is the definitive sentence that must be handed down before the term expires."
rshimizu12 11 months ago
I am hopeful that Giuseppe Saronni was not involved. Saronni has done a of good things for Italian cycling. We shall see....
Master50 11 months ago
A lot of dopers have done really great things for the sport except the doping part. I first saw Sarroni in SanFrancisco in 1986. My friend called him Fausto and he replied in Italian that Fausto was Morte. That and his beautiful Colnago Master Piu. That day set a lot of the direction in my cycling experience. I have very fond memories of Sarroni but nothing about that makes me think he is innocent of this charge.
bikebandit 11 months ago
Lampre has been terrible for years. Whatever products they are using are not good.
Oxygen Vector 11 months ago
Wait...what? Cyclists have been using drugs? In Italy? Oh man, i am crestfallen. I thought it was all training, determination and spaghetti.