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Cipollini denies link to Fuentes

After Italian daily La Repubblica reported on Friday that retired sprinter Mario Cipollini was also amongst the clients of Spanish doping doctor Eufemiano Fuentes when he still a professional cyclist, the Italian has denied the allegations. The newspaper claimed that the Guardia Civil suspected Cipollini to have received various doping products and practices in 2002, under the code name of "Pavarotti" - a name that is allegedly found in Fuentes' records for that particular year. Cipollini scored 14 victories that season, including Milano-Sanremo, Gent-Wevelgem, six stages in the Giro d'Italia and three in the Vuelta, as well as his world championship title in Zolder, Netherlands.

"I am completely astounded at what the newspaper Repubblica published today," Cipollini declared. "It is absurd to me that my name is mentioned in this arbitrary way in something I now nothing about. Personally, I do not know doctor Fuentes and I have never had any contact to him."

The Tuscan is now ready to take legal action "to protect his image".

Cyclingnews' recent coverage of 'Operación Puerto'

April 2, 2009 - Valverde indignant over possible suspension
April 1, 2009
- Valverde: Italy requests two-year suspension
March 13, 2009 - Le Monde newspaper hit with fine over Puerto allegations
March 2, 2009 - WADA president Fahey asks for Puerto evidence
February 24, 2009 - Spanish federation seeks access to Puerto blood bags
February 20, 2009 - CONI considers Valverde case while UCI awaits verdict
February 19, 2009 - Valverde under criminal investigation
February 11, 2009 - Valverde summonsed for Operación Puerto in Italy
February 8, 2009 - Eight charged in Operación Puerto

Cyclingnews' complete coverage of Operación Puerto