Courtesy Sapa – AFP
Italian anti-doping authorities arrested team Ceramica Flaminia cyclist Enrico Rossi and five others and also carried out 40 searches on Tuesday as part of an ongoing investigation into doping, local media reported.
According to the reports, two amateur cyclists, a sports journalist, a pharmacist and a nurse were also arrested and accused of dealing in doping products.
“They seriously and repeatedly endangered the health of athletes,” Marco Vetulli was quoted as saying in Perugia.
The raids were coordinated by Perugia prosecutor Sergio Sottani, who is investigating a total of 36 people, including six professional cyclists, 15 amateur riders, sport doctors, helpers and pharmacists.
According to the La Gazzetta dello Sport newspaper, Italy’s anti- doping police (NAS) carried out the raids in an investigation named “Cobra-Red”.
The paper said the investigation was named after Rossi, the brother of cyclist Riccardo Ricco’s partner Vania Rossi.
Ricco has the nickname “Il Cobra” while Red is the English translation for Rossi.
Ricco, who raced with team Saunier Duval from 2006 to 2008, could now face a life ban as he has already served a 20-month ban after testing positive for the banned blood booster EPO-CERA during the 2008 Tour de France.
The president of the Italian cycling federation, Renato Di Rocco expressed his concern at the latest doping scandal to hit Italian cycling.
“The news of arrests damages our image,” he said.