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Priamo exonerated, Sella "told the truth"

By:
Laura Weislo and Sue George
Published:
February 28, 2009, 0:00 GMT,
Updated:
April 20, 2009, 21:00 BST
Edition:
First Edition Cycling News, February 28, 2009

Italian Matteo Priamo was exonerated on Friday of charges that he supplied doping products to his...

Italian Matteo Priamo was exonerated on Friday of charges that he supplied doping products to his former teammate Emanuele Sella. The Italian Olympic Committee (CONI) had requested that Priamo, a former CSF Group Navigare rider, be given a four-year ban, reportedly for having been named by Sella as his supplier of the EPO variant CERA (trade name Mircera).

Sella confessed to using the drug and was given a reduced one-year suspension in December for cooperating with the anti-doping authorities. He was reported to have named Priamo as his supplier, but Priamo's attorneys were able to discredit Sella's testimony in the hearing with the National Anti-Doping Tribunal in Rome this week.

According to tuttobiciweb.it, lawyers Morgagni Luca and Celestino Salami showed that Sella repeatedly "changed the date of the alleged delivery of the vial of Mircera". Sella gave date ranges of before July 13 and between July 10-15 before finally settling on June 30th as the day Priamo delivered the drug. However, Priamo had an alibi for his whereabouts on those occasions. After July 6 he was training in Val d'Agordo with his teammate Tiziano Dall'Antonia, and on June 30 he was receiving treatment related to a fractured elbow sustained in the Giro d'Italia.

Priamo looked forward to getting back to training and racing now that he has been acquitted, and criticized the press for inaccuracies which were written about him. "I still have a year's contract with the CSF, and will speak with Burno and Roberto Reverberi to see if I can stay with them, otherwise I will try another team."

For his part, Sella expressed disappointment that his former teammate's acquittal had not gotten more press. "If the courts have decided there is not sufficient evidence against Priamo, I am happy for him, but the fact remains that I have told the truth and I accepted the consequences of my behavior. And when the time comes, I will return more mature as a rider and an athlete."

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