Punishment for Simeoni's critics?

Filippo Simeoni could be about to make new enemies in the Italian gruppo. The Italian Cycling Federa

Filippo Simeoni could be about to make new enemies in the Italian gruppo. The Italian Cycling Federa
PICTURE BY TIM DE WAELE Filippo Simeoni has revealed to procycling that Italian riders who allegedly insulted him following his Tour de France spat with Lance Armstrong could face disciplinary action. Following discussions with police in Florence investigating Lance Armstrong's actions on stages 18 and 20 of the Grande Boucle, the Italian Federation's Disciplinary Committee summoned Simeoni to give his version of events last week. A spokesman from the Disciplinary Committee confirmed to procycling on Thursday that Simeoni had been interviewed at FCI headquarters in Rome. The source, Alessandro Bezzi, said that the identity of the riders involved and the nature of the action which could be taken against them was confidential. Simeoni has said on record several times, notably in procycling magazine, that Giuseppe Guerini, Filippo Pozzato, Daniele Nardello and Andrea Peron were among the riders who showed their contempt for his breakaway attempt on stage 18 of the Tour. Simeoni told procycling in August that Nardello had called him "a disgrace" after he was famously chased back by Armstrong. The six-time Tour winner is the subject of an ongoing court case brought by the Italian in 2003. Armstrong is still waiting to hear whether he will be ordered to pay Simeoni 100 000 euros in damages for "defaming [Simeoni's] character" in an interview with French newspaper Le Monde in 2003. The Italian Federation was quick to issue a statement in defence of Simeoni - and condemning Armstrong - immediately after their row at the Tour. Simeoni confirmed regretfully today that he will not be riding for ProTour team next season. The 33-year-old remains under contract with Vincenzo Santoni, who is currently in negotiations with prospective co-sponsors to link up with his new backer, Elitron. Santoni and Domina Vacanze parted company acrimoniously at the end of the 2004 campaign after Domina Vacanze's financial contributions to the team stopped abruptly in mid-season. Domina Vacanze owner Ernesto Preatoni justified his actions on the grounds that Mario Cipollini had failed complete either the Tour de France or the Giro, and that Mario Scirea and Alessio Galletti were involved in doping scandals. Santoni has now lodged a formal complaint about Preatoni with the Court for Arbitration in Sport in Lausanne. Domina Vacanze will join forces with De Nardi in a ProTour team managed by Gianluigi Stanga next year.

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