Knee problems exclude Italian from final races
The Farnese Vini-Selle Italia team announced today that Filippo Pozzato will not line up at the GP Beghelli on Sunday, and will instead call an end to his dismal 2012 season due to inflammation of his patellar tendon in his right knee.
"Last week I started to feel a little discomfort, but I did not want to stop, so I went ahead, but it is now clear that I cannot continue," Pozzato said in a press release. "Already in Lombardy I feared I would not be able to recover, and the confirmation came clear today."
Pozzato only returned from his three-month suspension at Milano-Torino last week, followed by the Gran Piemonte and Il Lombardia, which he failed to finish.
The Italian was suspended by the Italian Olympic Committee's anti-doping tribunal for working with Michele Ferrari, the trainer who has been banned for life by the Italian Cycling Federation. Pozzato admitted to consulting with Ferrari "for training plans only" from 2005 to 2009, but said he stopped when he was told that it was forbidden. He called the ban "a farce".
It has been a season to forget for the 31-year-old: in the Tour of Qatar in February, he broke his collarbone in a crash on stage 5, hampering his build up to the Classics.
He rebounded in time for Tirreno-Adriatico, racing just four weeks after his fracture, and was back on form at Milano-Sanremo, where he placed sixth.
The highlight of his season was a second place to Tom Boonen in the Tour of Flanders, but in Paris-Roubaix, he did not react in time to Boonen's attack and was left behind, only to crash out of the race on the cobbles of Bersée, where he injured his right knee.
Quickly rehabilitated, he translated his form into a victory at the Italian 1.1 event GP Industria & Artigianato - Larciano, but then crashed out of the Giro d'Italia with a broken hand.
He was called before the CONI on June 19, which recommended a one-year ban for his association with Ferrari. On September 11, the CONI decided on a three-month ban that ran from the date of his first hearing until September 18.
All the while, his directeur sportif Luca Scinto has stood by his side and continues to do so on the latest bad news. "It's useless to push it, which might cause more serious damage, so it's better for it to stop," said Scinto.
Pozzato will be replaced in Beghelli by Pierpaolo De Negri.