The long-running Mantova-based doping investigation centred around the Lampre squad and pharmacist Guido Nigrelli has taken another step towards resolution following the confirmation that a judge will soon decide on whether to charge the 32 people named in the final report made by the public prosecutor in the case last year.
According to reports in Gazzetta dello Sport and lagazzettadimantova.it on Wednesday evening, the 32 people who were named in Antonino Condorelli’s final report in April 2011 will learn in the next three months whether or not they will be charged with offences including the trafficking, prescription, administration and use of prohibited substances.
Among the riders understood to be listed are Alessandro Ballan (BMC), Damiano Cunego (Lampre-ISD), Marco Bandiera (Omega-Quick Step), Marzio Bruseghin (Movistar), Mauro Da Dalto (Liquigas-Cannondale), Manuele Mori (Lampre-ISD), Massimiliano Mori (formerly of Lampre) Daniele Pietropolli (Lampre-ISD), Simone Ponzi (Astana), Mauro Santambrogio (BMC) and Michael Rasmussen (Christina Watches). Others on the list are Lampre-ISD manager Beppe Saronni, directeurs sportifs Fabrizio Bontempi and Maurizio Piovani, and former professional Mariano Piccoli.
The matter now passes from the Mantova public prosecutor to a preliminary hearing judge, who will announce a date for a hearing within the next four months. At that point it will also be decided who is to be prosecuted and who is to be absolved.
The investigation focused largely on the activities of Nigrelli and the Lampre squad in 2008 and 2009, and damning transcripts of phone conversations implicating Alessandro Ballan were published in Gazzetta dello Sport on the eve of last year’s Giro d’Italia.
As was the case when news of the investigation first broke in 2010, Ballan and his teammate Mauro Santambrogio were both pulled from racing by BMC before returning to action a number of weeks later. Ballan appeared before an Italian Olympic Committee (CONI) panel to discuss the matter last summer.
Lampre-ISD fast-tracked Roberto Damiani’s appointment as sport manager ahead of last year’s Giro in the wake of Giuseppe Saronni’s implication in the case, but Saronni remains the team’s general manager.