Luca Paolini will miss the Giro d'Italia after Acqua & Sapone team manager Palmiro Masciarelli overlooked him in the final selection. The Italian sprinter was heard by the Italian Olympic Committee (CONI) yesterday for his alleged involvement in the 2006 Operazione Athena doping investigation.
The Olympic Committee is still to issue its decision. To date, there has been no sporting nor criminal sanctions against Paolini, winner of Settimana Lombardia stage six last month.
Paolini was questioned in 2007 regarding the evidence found during raids of homes and gyms in Italy in late 2006. Police arrested 22 people (none cyclists) and evidence worth six million euro was sequestered during the investigation dubbed Operazione Athena (named after a gym in Lombardy, 'Athena,' were one of the raids were made).
Stefano Garzelli, 2000 race winner, will lead Acqua & Sapone for stage wins and the overall classification.