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Franco Pellizotti with Androni Giocattoli team manager Gianni Savio
Says Pellizotti was punished perhaps more than what was fair
Androni Giocattoli - Venezuela manager Gianni Savio believes that team hierarchies should also be punished when riders are sanctioned for anti-doping violations.
Savio was speaking on the "Last Kilometer" program on Radio Mana Mana Sport and said he was behind the 'manifesto for credible cycling' published last week by leading European newspapers which demanded major reform within the sport.
"We have reached a crossroads, it seems that this past does not want us to leave and then we need new rules, to move from words to deeds," Savio said. "There were too many ethical codes that have not been met, so you have to do something different, such as introducing tougher sanctions for riders, because today the situation can be monitored and sanctions should also be imposed on teams and team managers, not only to the riders."
Earlier this season, Savio signed Franco Pellizotti following his two-year-ban for anomalies in his biological passport. The Court of Arbitration for Sport upheld the UCI's appeal after the Italian rider was cleared by the Italian Olympic Committee.
As an extra penalty, CAS cancelled all of Pellizotti's results from May 17, 2009. He lost his second place at the Giro d'Italia (he finished third but Danilo Di Luca was subsequently disqualified for doping), his stage victory at the Tour de France and his polka-dot climber's jersey. He was also fined 115,000 Euro.
Pellizotti always denied doping but several blood tests caught the eye of the Biological Passport experts.
According to Savio, Pellizotti has received just punishment.
"I think Franco Pellizotti has paid the price and perhaps even more with the two-year ban, because his case is a bit special," he said. "It is true that it was condemned by the CAS in Lausanne, but he was acquitted by CONI."
Pellizotti was scathing of the UCI following confirmation of his ban, saying that the sport's governing body was "poorly managed, with the leadership continuing to do what they want, applying rules as they wish." Savio points to the increased scrutiny on the UCI and speculated on what effect, if any, it has on cases like Pellizotti's.
"We await the events giving confidence to Franco, but then again I think I've already paid enough," he said.
Meantime, Savio also explained that he was looking forward to his team's participation in the 2013 Giro d'Italia. Androni Giocattoli - Venezuela was awarded one of four wildcards to the grand tour off the back of their win in the Coppa Italia - the season-long competition for Italian cycling teams. Androni finished on 814 points, ahead of Colnago-CSF Inox with 766.
"We are proud of this victory in the Coppa Italia, a goal that we had right from beginning of the season," he said. "This year we have been involved in a thrilling duel with the Colnago-CSF and it was a fight that was resolved in the Tour of Emilia, then the penultimate race.
"Last year it was less difficult to win the championship, and this year especially in August, Colnago did very well by winning the team time trial of the Tour of Padania and also through the success of Sacha Modolo."