Franco Pellizotti (Liquigas-Doimo) has spoken of his frustration at the delay in his hearing before the Italian Olympic Committee’s (CONI) anti-doping tribunal. Pellizzotti has been out of action since May, when the UCI announced that its biological passport programme had uncovered anomalies in his blood values. In July CONI’s anti-doping prosecutor Francesco Plotino recommended a two-year suspension for the Italian rider.
Pellizotti has been unable to race while he waits for his case to be heard. He was originally supposed to appear before Plotino today (September 16), but that hearing has been postponed until October 21.
“At this point, I’m almost ashamed to be Italian,” Pellizotti told Il Messaggero Veneto. “I feel like I’m being taken for a ride. I haven't been accused on the basis of any proof, but only on the basis of very debatable and uncertain blood values from six months before.”
Pellizotti’s abnormal blood values date back to 2009, when he enjoyed his best-ever season. The Italian finished second overall at the Giro d’Italia and went on to win the King of the Mountains title at the Tour de France. He was first informed by the UCI that he was under investigation in early 2010.
“Along with my lawyer and the Liquigas-Doimo team doctor Roberto Corsetti, I believe that we have amply demonstrated that the values disputed by the biological passport are natural,” Pellizotti said. “Yet they have still delayed until the second half of October a hearing about debatable values, the last of which dates from July of last year.”
Earlier this year, CONI handed out two-year suspensions to Pietro Caucchioli and Francesco De Bonis on the basis of results from their biological passports.