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Giovanni Visconti (Farnese Vini)
Farnese Vini plays down their riders involvement
Gazzetta dello Sport has reported further details of the ongoing investigation into Dr Michele Ferrari, revealing that police officers visited Italian national champion Giovanni Visconti (Farnese Vini-Neri Sottoli), his teammate Diego Caccia and Morris Possoni (Team Sky) on Thursday.
Police reportedly seized the medical records, contracts, computers and other personal records from the riders as they investigate suspected clients and people linked to Dr Ferrari. 100 people are reportedly involved in the investigation although Italian police are obliged to formally include anyone who is even marginally linked to a suspect.
The investigation is being lead by Padova magistrate Benedetto Roberti, who is coordinating his efforts with the US investigator Jeff Novitzky from the Food and Drug Administration. Novitzky is leading the investigation into Lance Armstrong and the US Postal Service team.
Visconti was announced as the team leader of the Farnese Vini-Neri Sottoli team for the Giro d'Italia on Thursday and was given race number 150 because the Giro will celebrate the 150th anniversary of the unification of Italy. Diego Caccia was also named as part of the Farnese Vini-Neri Sottoli team for the Giro.
Possoni is also on the Team Sky's team for the Giro d'Italia and is named in the team to ride the Tour de Romandie in Switzerland that starts next Tuesday.
Dr Ferrari was given a life-time ban by the Italian Olympic Committee in 2002 and so Italian licence holders risk a ban of between three and six months if it proved they worked with him.
The Farnese Vini-Neri Sottoli confirmed to Cyclingnews that Visconti had been visited by police but played down any possible links between the Italian national champion and Dr Ferrari.
"Both the team and Giovanni are unperturbed by the investigation. We'll let justice takes its course and we're confident that Giovanni will be able to prove he's innocent," a team spokesman told Cyclingnews.
Team Sky was initially unaware that Possoni had become embroiled in the investigation but later issued a brief statement.
"Team Sky is a clean team and we are committed to protecting the integrity of our sport," a Team Sky spokesman told Cyclingnews.
"We are aware of the reports from Italy this morning. It is important that all the facts are established. Once that has been done, we will follow the appropriate procedures and communicate the process being followed."