Italian team Liquigas does not see any reason to suspend its rider Luca Paolini, whose house was searched by police officers on Wednesday, September 20. The rider, who at the time was already in Austria preparing for the World Championships, had to return to Italy to help the inquiry, but could return straight to Salzburg as nothing was found at his home.
Police are investigating a drug trafficking network operating mostly in Italian gymnasiums, after exchanging information with the Spanish Guardia Civil on the Operation Puerto affair. Paolini's name reportedly came up in taped phone conversations, as well as the names of Ivan Basso and his sister Elisa, whose home was also searched.
Team Liquigas has now announced that it will not suspend Paolini for a lack of evidence against him. "As the rider has guaranteed to have nothing to do with this situation, and, up to now, Liquigas Sport hasn’t received any official document, as requested in point 1 paragraph 2 art. IX of the Code of Conduct, that could motivate the suspension of the rider, Luca Paolini remains - until evidence to the contrary - in the Liquigas Pro Team," the statement read.