Police carry out doping raids in Italy

An Italian flag flies over the peloton

An Italian flag flies over the peloton (Image credit: AFP Photo)

Italian authorities have carried out raids on more than 20 different locations in an investigation to disrupt illegal doping by athletes today. In the early morning hours on Tuesday, raids were carried out by the NAS (Italian police) in the provinces of Brescia, Lucca, Firenze, Padova, Venice and Genoa.

Tuttobiciweb.it indicated that the searches stemmed from the same investigation which led to the ejection of the Lucchini-Unidelta team from the Girobio (Baby Giro) earlier this month.

During the Girobio, police reportedly uncovered banned substances and medicines for which there were no prescriptions after searching the home of the team's director Bruno Leali, the team's hotel and training base.

The latest raids reportedly extend to residences of amateur and professional cyclists and athletes from other sports, all of whom worked with a particular physician in Brescia.

The doctor is said to have operated a clinic out of his home which the athletes visited and were prescribed banned drugs.

Police reportedly seized medical equipment, computer files and other documents in an operation involving some 100 members of the Carabinieri and Guardie di Finanza.

La Gazzetta dello Sport reports that Marco Velo (Quickstep) is among the riders involved in the inquiry. Velo previously tested positive for salbutamol in 2000, but was subsequently cleared when CONI (the Italian Olympic Committee) accepted that his use of the product was for therapeutic reasons.

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