Italian cyclist Lorenzo Bernucci, a former team-mate of sprinter Alessandro Petacchi, was slapped with a five-year ban yesterday by the Italian Olympic Committee (CONI), while four members of his family also received bans for their involvement in a doping ring.
Bernucci – who was fired by former team T-Mobile in 2007 after testing positive for sibutramine, a banned substance, although he didn't serve a ban – came under suspicion when carabinieri federal police investigators sequestered pharmaceutical products from both his and Petacchi's homes last April.
According to the Italian press, banned products such as albumine and sibutramine were among the items discovered during the raid. Bernucci's mother and brother are said to have falsely claimed the products were theirs, while his wife allegedly sent a text message to her father telling him to destroy the substances.
Bernucci's wife Valentina Borgioli, mother Antonella Rossi and father-in-law Fabrizio Borgioli were banned for four years "from frequenting sporting establishments and spaces reserved for athletes and related personnel in Italy", according to anti-doping prosecutors. They were also barred from "taking part in sporting events on Italian soil or those organised by Italian sporting authorities". His brother Alessio received a three-year ban.
© AFP 2011