Santuccione claims innocence

Doctor Carlo Santuccione has responded to the request of a life-time ban by the Italian Olympic Committee (CONI) anti-doping prosecutor Ettore Torri. Santuccione, who had been previously suspended from 1995 to 2000, stated his innocence in light of the Oil for Drugs investigation stemming from 2004.

"When I started to follow the professionals, I brought on jealousy from some because my cyclists, like [Andreas] Collinelli, had started to win important races," said Santuccione of Cepagatti, Italy, to Il Centro. "The mischievous ones thought that I doped the cyclists... Today, I feel deserted."

2007 Giro d'Italia winner Danilo Di Luca was recently suspended for three months for his involvement with Santuccione dating back to 2004. In that year's Giro, May 26, Italy's Anti-Narcotics Group (NAS) raided several teams' hotels, however its search of riders who were allegedly linked with Doctor Santuccione did not yield evidence. This July, Di Luca was further linked via documents supplied by NAS that were published in the Italian press.

Santuccione acted as a family doctor since Di Luca was a child, however the relationship has now ceased. "He is like a son for me," Santuccione commented.

For the following six months, until the suspension is confirmed or denied, Santuccione is unable to have dealings with Italian athletes as a sports doctor. Torri asked for "a life-time sanction from the sporting federation or associated disciplines, from frequenting Italian sporting events ..."

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