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Mazzoleni, Elisa Basso plea-bargain in drug-dealing case

Former rider Eddy Mazzoleni and his wife Elisa Basso, sister of Giro d'Italia winner Ivan Basso, have plea-bargained for lighter sentences for their role in a drug-dealing ring in northern Italy.

Mazzoleni was sentenced to four months and a fine, and Basso to one year and a fine, for selling illegal drugs and banned substances. Under the arrangement, the prison sentences are waived, and Mazzoleni must pay a fine of 6,560 Euro.

Ivan Basso, suspended for his involvement in Operación Puerto from 2007 to 2009, was not involved in the investigation.

The sentences stem from Operazione Athena, which began in 2005 and investigated a drug dealing ring in several gyms in the Bergamo and Como area of northern Italy.

Mazzoleni finished third in the 2007 Giro d'Italia behind Danilo Di Luca. He retired in July that year and was subsequently banned for two years for his involvement in the Oil for Drugs investigation in Italy. The couple now runs a restaurant in the Bergamo area.

The case involves 29 individuals, of whom 14 chose to plea-bargain and nine took an abbreviated trial, with the rest going to trial. The latter group includes pro rider Luca Paolini, who is accused of buying using banned substances including EPO in July 2005.

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