Italian investigation uncovers widespread doping by amateurs
José Rujano (Vacansoleil-DCM) said today that the information about his implication in Operacion Amateur, an inquiry about the traffic of doping products such as EPO, CERA and Retacrit in Italy, are "not true". "This information has been published by someone to hurt me, and it may be very hurtful indeed", he told Pasados de Volta.
The investigation, led by the Procura di Massa, netted 25 individuals linked to trafficking doping products, an industry valued at 425 million Euro, according to La Repubblica.
The Italian newspaper reported that "a mountain climber on Vacansoleil from Venezuela" had allegedly purchased doping products from a network which operated in several regions of Italy. It also stated that he was the only professional rider implicated on this inquiry.
"I haven't got a lot of details about this, but I know that this investigation comes from 2009, a year when I wasn't even racing in Europe," Rujano said. That year, Rujano was a member of the Gobernación de Zulia team, back in Venezuela.
"I've talked to my team and am in touch with its manager. They are not nervous about this. We are going to find out who this info came from and take legal actions", Rujano said. "I can't sit still and not lift a finger now that I have the opportunity of competing in Europe with a very important team". He later added that the "anti doping commitment of Vacansoleil-DMC is very strong".
Vacansoleil-DCM to open an internal investigation
The director of Vacansoleil-DCM at the Volta a Catalunya, Michel Cornelisse, said that this news about Rujano came "as a surprise". "We don't know anything, and so does the rider". Cornelisse also commented that "more evidences should be required when it comes to publish informations like this".
The manager of the Dutch team, Dan Luijkx, explained to Wielerland that an "internal investigation" will be opened regarding this issue. Luijkx will fly to Spain to talk face to face with Rujano, whom biological passport "shows no outliers" since its introduction in 2008 according to Luijkx.
A circumstance which adds some tension to this issue is the fact that Vacansoleil and DCM sponsoring agreements with the Dutch squad come to an end at the end of this year. Their extension are being discussed this month and should come to a conclusion in the following weeks.