Franco Pellizotti asked to explain blood values

Italian Olympic Committee wants answers

Italian cyclist Franco Pellizotti was on Tuesday called before the Italian Olympic Committee's (Coni) anti-doping prosecutor to explain anomalies in his biological passport.

The Liquigas star will appear before Coni on May 17.

On Monday he was excluded from the Tour of Italy, due to begin on Saturday in the Netherlands, after the International Cycling Union (UCI) confirmed they had found irregularities in his biological passport.

Pellizotti was considered one of the favourites for the pink jersey, having finished third last year before second-placed compatriot Danilo Di Luca was excluded for two positive dope tests.

The 32-year-old had even outclassed former winner and team-mate Ivan Basso last year to record his best result in the race and fifth top-10 finish.

The biological passport, put in place at the start of the 2008 season, detects drug-taking by building an electronic haemocritic profile over a period of time and includes results of individual urine tests and also individual blood tests and highlighting abnormal variations.

AG2R racer Tadej Valjavec is also alleged to have anomalies in his biological passport and his team on Tuesday expressed "full support" for team manager Vincent Lavenu's decision to suspend him for the time being.

© AFP 2010

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