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Savio: Mantova investigation damaging for Italian cycling

Gianni Savio

Gianni Savio (Image credit: Steve Thomas)

Gianni Savio has spoken about the Mantova investigation that has engulfed Italian cycling in the past week. The Androni Giocattoli manager was at the Paris Roubaix team presentation and believes that whatever the outcome of the investigation, Italian cycling has taken another severe hit to its already shaky integrity.

“Fortunately it’s not a question for us. We have no riders in the investigation so it’s very difficult to know what happened and what will happen,” he told Cyclingnews.

“But it’s damaging for Italian cycling,” he added. “I think that all these questions are bad for cycling.”

Savio’s team has already been hit by drug-related news this year after Massimo Giunti was provisionally suspended by the International Cycling Union (UCI) after testing positive for EPO in a targeted out-of-competition test in February. However Savio believes that his team is doing all it can to change the consciousness within Italian cycling.

“In our team in the last year we tried with education and then repression,” he said. “Education; we had meetings about doping and we explained to the riders that it’s not right to dope. That in the past there was allowances but now it’s completely different. Also we have a contract that if a one rider is in violation he is finished and he must pay one year of his contract, so we do all we can.”

According to Savio, Giunti has already paid back a year’s salary, although he was only with the team for two months, after signing from Miche - Silver Cross - Selle Italia at the end of 2009.

Asked if all teams should enforce internal financial penalties, Savio said: “I don’t know if all teams should do this. I don’t know their codes. We have our own ethic code. We keep telling the riders, especially the ones who rode in the old days, that the world of cycling has totally changed."

The judge leading the Mantova case has already said that: “the investigation is based on the hypothesis of crimes related to the selling of banned substances. It starts in 2008. The most interesting things are from 2009."

The investigation will be wrapped up by the end of May. So far BMC has suspended two riders after they were named as part of the investigation. No other action has been taken by any other team.

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