Roberto Damiani has taken over the reins as team manager of Lampre-ISD and confirmed that none of the riders or staff named recently in the Mantova-based doping investigation will be present at the Giro d’Italia.
Damiani left his position as directeur sportif with Omega Pharma-Lotto during the week in order to take up the new role. The Italian had been working with Lampre-ISD in a part-time role since the winter, with a view to making a permanent move at the end of this year. However, recent developments in the Mantova case accelerated the process.
“There is a moment of great unease and so we have brought forward a project that we had launched in the winter,” Damiani told Gazzetta dello Sport. “I don’t want to manage money, but I will take care of all of the technical side of things: races, calendars, programmes and preparation, with the Mapei Centre.”
14 Lampre riders past and present, as well as directeurs sportifs Fabrizio Bontempi and Maurizio Piovani and erstwhile manager Beppe Saronni were named in the final report on the Mantova doping investigation led by public prosecutor Antonino Condorelli.
Charges do not as yet appear to have been formalised against those implicated in the probe, which is centred on pharmacist Guido Nigrelli’s alleged involvement with the Lampre squad.
“There were some in the team who had not understood anything, but the errors of some individuals cannot be confused with a concept of team doping, which doesn’t exist,” Damiani insisted. “You can’t turn to a tablet to solve a problem: you get over it with work. And this is becoming our commandment to the many youngsters that we have. You can look at the glass in two ways. I prefer to look at it as being half full.”
Lampre-ISD’s Giro d’Italia squad will have a youthful flavour therefore, with former junior world champion Diego Ulissi among the nine selected. “Ulissi will ride the Giro with the serenity of someone who is looking to gain great experience,” Damiani said.
However, 37-year-old Alessandro Petacchi, named in a separate Padova-based investigation last summer, is also in the Giro team. The line-up is led by Michele Scarponi, who was recently searched by police at a training camp on Mount Etna.
As anticipated since last autumn, there is no place in the Giro squad for Damiano Cunego. The 2004 winner was also named in the Mantova report, but Damiani is confident that he will be absolved of wrongdoing.
“I’d put my hand in the fire for Damiano, and the papers of the investigation confirm it,” he said.
Lampre-ISD’s selection Giro selection policy has also been mirrored by Quick Step. According to Gazzetta dello Sport, Quick Step have opted not to select the former Lampre rider Marco Bandiera after reading the Mantova report.
Lampre-ISD’s line-up for the Giro d’Italia is:
Alessandro Petacchi (Ita), Michele Scarponi (Ita), Diego Ulissi (Ita), Danilo Hondo (Ger), Simon Spilak (Slo), Alessandro Spezialetti (Ita), Przemyslaw Niemec, Marco Marzano (Ita) and Daniele Righi (Ita).
A provisional Giro d’Italia start list is available here.