By Gregor Brown
Emanuele Sella lives with disappointment and sadness despite Italy's anti-doping tribunal issuing him a relatively short suspension. It banned the Italian for one year as a result of the positive control for blood booster CERA this last July.
"I can't be happy or content. ... It is not a satisfaction, because I have disappointed a lot of people and my morale is down," said Sella to Cyclingnews.
The International Cycling Union (UCI) focused on Sella using its blood passport programme. Its representatives visited his home in Vicenza for an out-of-competition control July 23 and the results found him positive for the third generation EPO, CERA. Because of the cooperation with the Italian Olympic Committee (CONI) prosecutor, it reduced his sentence from the now-standard two-year ban, which fellow Italian Riccardo Riccò received.
"It is written in the WADA [World Anti-Doping Agency - ed.] code and I had the possibility and I found it correct to cooperate."
Sella came to prominence thanks to three stage wins - Alpe di Pampeago, Passo Fedaia and Tirano - and the climber's jersey of this year's Giro d'Italia, May 10 to June 1. The positive control came over one month later and casts doubt on his Giro performance.
"Everyone asks this question [of the Giro] and I tell them the results are there. The investigation was done and, certainly, it has not been easy."
Sella explained he will use the time between now and when the suspension ends - August 18, 2009 - to reflect and think about the events in the past years. He turned professional with Ceramica Panaria - now known as CSF Group - in 2004 and remained with the team though this year, when it terminated his contract.
"I am convinced that I can return in the best way, how I have always done in these years. Like this year, someone believed in me, maybe they made a mistake but I hope to have another chance to do my work in the best way possible. ... It's my passion."
The UCI reviewed Sella's case before the anti-doping tribunal gave its session to Sella. There are very strict rules to have a reduction and one can assumed CONI gained valid information from Sella for its ongoing investigations. Sella could not comment on the exact details.