Italian cyclist charged with doping

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Italian cyclist Damiano Cunego has been charged with doping. Photo: Joel Saget/AFP
16:06 CEST+02:00
Former Tour of Italy winner Damiano Cunego was among 28 people connected to the Lampre team charged with doping-related offences, the Padua prosecutor's office said on Friday.

As well as Cunego, currently riding the Tour de France, former world champion Alessandro Ballan and a host of riders, officials and doctors have been called in to explain themselves.

Lampre responded to the charges by affirming its "faith in the members of the team caught up in this incident".

As well as the two star name riders Cunego and Bassan, sporting directors Giuseppe Saronni and Guido Bontempi, and team chemist Vittorio Nigrelli, suspected of being the "brains" behind the doping operation, have been summonsed.

The 28 are accused of having "in collaboration with each other, bought, administered or otherwise favoured the use of doping products....with the aim of altering the sporting performances of Lampre athletes," according to prosecutor Antonino Condorelli.

Lampre are accused of having given their riders the banned blood-booster EPO, anabolic steroids, human growth hormone and testosterone.

The case will be heard on December 10th by judge Gilberto Casari.

Lampre were adamant in their defence of the individuals involved.

"(The charges) are technically neutral in relation to any affirmation of responsibility," said a Lampre statement.

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"(We) will be able to demonstrate, in the appropriate domain, how wrong these accusations are..."

Lampre were previously subject to a doping investigation from 2008 to 2011 following revelations made by former cyclist Emanuele Sella after he had tested positive for EPO derivative CERA, although nothing came of the investigation.

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