Leonardo Piepoli denies doping

No admissions from Italian climber

Italian cyclist Leonardo Piepoli said he had "denied everything" following his doping hearing with the Italian Olympic Committee (Coni) on Thursday.

Piepoli was heard just a day after his former Saunier-Duval team-mate Ricardo Riccò, who admitted to using EPO. Riccò was kicked out of the Tour de France earlier this month after failing a dope test following the fourth stage time-trial. He was fired by Saunier-Duval, who also dismissed Piepoli, claiming he had violated their code of ethics.

But following his doping hearing, Piepoli said: "I had nothing important to say with regards the hearing. I denied everything. I was questioned only as a witness. I said what I had to say, nothing more, nothing less."

Piepoli was giving nothing away and refused even to answer journalists' questions about his relationship with Riccò, saying only: "Ask him."

Piepoli had won the prestigious 10th stage on the Tour but a day later Riccò's positive test was published and veteran Piepoli found himself ditched by his team for something they refused to publicise specifically.

It has been a bad month for Italian cycling as on Thursday Coni announced that two more professional riders had tested positive for EPO. Lampre's Paolo Bossoni failed a test on June 29 during the Settimana Tricolore, a day after Giovanni Carini of S.S. Pagnoncelli also failed a test at the same event.

© AFP 2008

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