Rosa to race Olympic Games after resolving whereabouts case

Italian cycling federation president Renato Di Rocco has confirmed that Diego Rosa will line out in Saturday’s Olympic Games road race after demonstrating that he was not at fault for two potential anti-doping whereabouts ‘strikes’ in June.

On Friday morning, Tuttobiciweb reported the rumour that an unnamed rider from the Italian Olympic squad had missed three anti-doping tests in the space of the past twelve months, an offence that carries a two-year ban if upheld.

Di Rocco subsequently revealed that Rosa was the rider in question, but added that the matter had already been resolved, meaning that the Astana man is free to compete on Saturday.

“Diego Rosa missed a test in June of last year. He presented a statement of defence which wasn’t accepted by the authorities in charge,” Di Rocco told Tuttobiciweb.

“Then, on June 23 and 25 last month, there was a misunderstanding with the UCI inspectors sent to perform tests ahead of the Italian Championships. They got the wrong place and so it was a question of procedural error rather than missed tests.

“But it wasn’t a question of rider error and the episode was clarified. So there’s no case: Diego Rosa can duly participate in the Olympic road race.”

Earlier in the week, it emerged that Lizzie Armitstead had successfully appealed to the Court of Arbitration for Sport after she received a provisional suspension for three missed anti-doping controls or filing failures in the past twelve months. The case and Armitstead’s brief suspension in the run-up to the Olympics would have remained confidential had it not been uncovered by the Daily Mail newspaper.

Unlike Armitstead, Rosa’s second and third potential whereabouts ‘strikes’ appear to have been immediately expunged from his record and he did not serve any provisional suspension as he was never charged with an offence.

“As confirmed today by the President of the FCI, Mr. Renato Di Rocco, it was a question of procedural error rather than missed tests, as wrongly reported in the media,” Rosa’s Astana team said in a statement on Friday evening.

“The Team's directors had been at time correctly made aware by Rosa of the matter and found that it was eventually only procedural errors not entirely the responsibility of the athlete. The Astana Pro team has always confirmed its trust in the serious professional that Diego has always proved to be, calling him to participate to the last Tour de France, and wish to confirm this trust.”

Rosa made his Tour de France debut days after the Italian Championships, and he impressed in support of Astana leader Fabio Aru in the third week. The Piedmont native has been linked heavily in recent weeks with a move to Team Sky for 2017.

The Italian team in Rio will be led by Rosa’s Astana teammate Vincenzo Nibali, and also includes Aru and the BMC pairing of Alessandro De Marchi and Damiano Caruso.

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