Michele Scarponi searched by police at Etna training camp

The Lampre-ISD team has confirmed that the Italian Nucleo Antisofisticazioni (NAS) police also searched Michele Scarponi and his room during an altitude training camp at Mount Etna in Sicily.

Other police seized the medical records of five Russian riders from the Katusha team headquarters near Brescia as part of what is believed to be a much wider investigation co-ordinated by the Padova magistrate Benedetto Roberti into the activities of infamous sports doctor Michele Ferrari.

Roberti met with the US-based FDA investigator Jeff Novitzky last year to co-ordinate the European part of the on-going investigation into Dr Ferrari's former client Lance Armstrong and the US Postal Service team.

The Lampre-ISD team confirmed that Scarponi was searched at the Hotel Corsaro di Nicolosi at altitude on the slopes of Etna. He and teammate Leonardo Bertagnolli were out training and were stopped by police when they arrived back at the hotel.

The team claimed that the only thing found were the commonly used anti-inflammatory medicine Oki, powdered milk and Enervit energy bars.

Scarponi is training at altitude for the Giro d'Italia which begins on May 7, where is expected to be Vincenzo Nibali's main rival for overall success. Scarponi was banned for 18 months in 2007 after being caught up in the Operacion Puerto doping investigation in Spain but made a successful return with the Androni Giocattoli team before joining Lampre.

The Lampre team is at the centre of another police investigation in Mantova, with 32 past and present riders and staff facing charges of doping after a detailed investigation into the relationship of the pharmacist and coach Guido Nigrelli with the team.

He claims he only sold legal medicines to the team and riders but Mantova public prosecutor Antonino Condorelli told Italian media that Alessandro Ballan is suspected of undergoing an illegal blood transfusion in 2009. Ballan now rides for the BMC team.

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