The UCI have confirmed that they have passed their investigation into Dr. Mario Zorzoli to the Cycling Independent Reform Commission (CIRC) for review.
The doctor was suspended from specific anti-doping work in his position as the Scientific Advisor and UCI doctor after allegations arose from the anti-doping investigation into Dr. Geert Leinders, who was handed a lifetime ban by a group of recognised anti-doping organisations for his role in systematic doping at the Rabobank team.
After confirming the suspension of specific duties - Zorzoli was allowed to remain in his position - the UCI stated that they would conduct their own investigation, run by their own internal legal team. However they did not specify how long Zorzoli would be suspended.
“We have investigated the allegations made against Mario Zorzoli in the Geert Leinders case, [and] gathered the relevant information we have and shared it with the CIRC,” a UCI spokesperson told Cyclingnews on Friday.
However the sport’s governing body would not confirm if their own internal investigation had reached any conclusion, other than to pass material to CIRC. The independent reform would have already been allowed access to all off the Leinders case information.
The Leinders case document contains statements from Michael Rasmussen, who testified that Zorzoli met with Leinders and said that “Rabobank was a team that had ‘butter on its head',” meaning no trouble would stick to the team.
It goes on to say that Leinders referred to Rasmussen as “the most protected rider in the race”. Rasmussen also claimed that Leinders advised him to use the steroid DHEA (didehydroepiandrosterone) as a result of a recommendation from Zorzoli.
When the UCI received notification of Leinders’ ban and Zorzoli’s possible involvement they quickly moved to suspend the doctor.
“Given that the CIRC is investigating the period concerning these allegations, we will await their report before making any conclusions on this case or any others,” the UCI spokesperson said.
The UCI today went on to say that Zorzoli had not been officially suspended “but rather, asked not to do any work on anti-doping matters, pursue his other activities. The UCI will not make any further comment for now.”
The CIRC is expected to make its report public by the end of February.
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Daniel Benson is the Editor in Chief at both Cyclingnews.com and BikePerfect.com. Based in the UK, he has worked within cycling for almost 15 years, and he joined the Cyclingnews team in 2008 as the site's first UK-based Managing Editor. In that time, he has reported on over a dozen editions of the Tour de France, several World Championships, the Tour Down Under, Spring Classics, and the London 2012 Olympic Games. With the help of the excellent editorial team, he runs the coverage on Cyclingnews and has interviewed leading figures in the sport including UCI Presidents and Tour de France winners.
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