Eddy Mazzoleni gets two-year ban

Part of 'Oil for Drugs' affair

Eddy Mazzoleni, third in last year's Tour of Italy, has been handed a two-year ban by the Italian Cycling Federation (FCI) for his involvement in the "Oil for Drugs" affair, the FCI said on Tuesday.

The FCI also banned 28-year-old former Ceramica Flaminia rider Domenico Quagliariello for life for his involvement in the same affair.

The 34-year-old Mazzoleni was initially temporarily suspended by his Astana team in June 2007 before having his contract terminated a few days later. Both men have 10 days to lodge an appeal with the Italian National Olympic Committee (CONI).

The "Oil for Drugs" inquiry, looking into a suspected EPO doping network, was lauched in 2004 and was based on relationships of several athletes with Dr. Carlo Santuccione.

Santuccione had been suspended from 1995 and 2000 in a doping affair. Investigators, who had bugged his surgery, recorded several telephone conversations which proved he had been involved in illegal doping practices.

Athletes implicated in the affair include cyclist Danilo Di Luca, the reigning Tour of Italy champion, and 2003 world champion in the pole vault, Giuseppe Gibilisco. Di Luca was suspended three months for his involvement and Gibilisco two years.

© BikeRadar & AFP 2008

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