Homes of four pro riders among those searched in Italy

La Gazzetta dello Sport has identified Brescia-based endocrinologist Filippo Manelli as the doctor at the centre of the doping raids carried out in Italy yesterday, and named some of the riders implicated in the investigation. The homes of professional riders Marco Velo (Quick Step), Riccardo Chiarini (De Rosa), Marco Corti (Footon Servetto) and Raffaele Ferrara (Carmiooro) were among those searched by Italian police yesterday, according to La Gazzetta.

Raids were also carried out on the homes of five of the six Lucchini riders excluded from the recent GiroBio, an unnamed mountain bike rider, and female professional Francesca Faustini, as well as a footballer from Genoa’s youth system, the Italian daily continued.

The raids were carried out in a number of locations across northern Italy yesterday in an operation involving 100 members of the Carabinieri and Guardie di Finanza. A number of illegal medications and substances held without the requisite therapeutic justification were discovered. It seems that many of the material originated in Eastern Europe, particularly in Russia.

The present investigation has its genesis in an inquiry into Davide Rebellin’s positive test for CERA at the 2008 Olympics. When Rebellin’s home was searched under the orders of Padua prosecutor Benedetto Roberti, police discovered prescriptions provided from Filippo Manelli. The fact that the Veneto-based Rebellin was frequenting a doctor in Brescia triggered suspicions and a fuller investigation was launched. This is in turn led to both the raid of the Lucchini team at the GiroBio and yesterday’s house searches.

Dr. Manelli is well-known in Italian cycling circles, and was vice-president of the organising committee of the Bresica stage of this year’s Giro d’Italia.

Meanwhile, the Zalf Desirèe Fior team has announced that it has suspended its rider Francesco Sedaboni as a precautionary measure, pending further clarification on his relationship with Dr. Manelli. Sedaboni’s home was among those searched yesterday.

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