Cofidis awaiting verdict on LelliClose
Cofidis find themselves fending off more negative press after another of their riders is detained byPICTURE BY TIM DE WAELE After Massimiliano Lelli was arrested and taken in by French police for questioning yesterday (Tuesday), his Cofidis team released a statement indicating that the Italian rider would be released from his contract if recent allegations of Lelli both taking and supplying EPO are substantiated. Lelli was detained by French police while on his way to a meeting with his Cofidis team to discuss comments made by David Millar and Philippe Gaumont implicating the Italian in doping. Lelli was taken to Paris on the instructions of Nanterre-based magistrate Richard Pallain, who has been investigating "infraction of the legislation on narcotic products and infraction of the legislation on dangerous substances". The 36-year-old Italian, who has been with the Cofidis team since 1998, was travelling to Lille when detained. "We had summoned Massimiliano Lelli to a meeting this (Tuesday) morning at the Cofidis HQ for him to give his side of recent events, as we had done with the other riders involved," said Cofidis spokeswoman Valrie Sartoris-Alexandre. "It was not a meeting where we were intending to sack him, but it might become one. "He never arrived at the meeting as the police were waiting for him and transferred him to the quai des Orfvres (in Paris). We are awaiting further information. If he has done something reprehensible and publicly confesses to it, we will do as we did with the other riders and release him from his contract. If not, we will presume his innocence and keep him on the team." Lelli is the ninth person to be investigated by Pallain. As well as Millar and Gaumont, who have both been released by Cofidis, the others investigated were Cdric Vasseur (still with Cofidis), Mdric Clain (released by Cofidis), former Cofidis riders Robert Sassone and Marek Rutkiewicz, Polish elite rider Daniel Majewski, Cofidis soigneur Boguslaw Madejak and Team Oktos directeur sportif Oleg Kozlitine.