The Lampre-Farnese Vini team has issued a short but blunt statement denying any links to a coach reported to be at the centre of a new doping investigation in Italy.
The Italian newspaper Gazzetta dello Sport reported that Guido Nigrelli was at the centre of the investigation by police in Mantova that reportedly includes 54 people.
Gazetta described Nigrelli as a a pharmacist-horse trainer-coach-doctor and said Nigrelli had often worked with Saronni's teams. The Italian paper also said he was implicated in an investigation by police in Brescia after being accused of administering Emagel, a drug that can lower blood haematocrit levels.
The Lampre team flatly denied any illicit links in the statement. "The activity of the Lampre-Farnese Vini team has always been done with respect for honesty, sporting fairness and the fight against doping," the statement reads.
"The name of team manager Giuseppe Saronni has been linked by some media to a coach that 'has apparently often worked with (Saronni's) team's', almost suggesting a systematic use of banned methods. The team refuses to accept any links to these people that may damage its image and reserves the right to take legal action to defend its name and image."
As part of another investigation, the homes of Lampre-Farnese Vini riders Lorenzo Bernucci and Alessandro Petacchi were searched by police on Friday. Several banned substances were reported to have been found at Bernucci's home but nothing was found at Petacchi's home.
Bernucci claims that the drugs found belonged to his wife and brother. He has been suspended by the Lampre-Farnese Vini team until the he fully clears his name.
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