Gianni Da Ros has been given a record 20-year ban by Italy's National Anti-doping Tribunal for trafficking doping substances.
The 23-year-old, who used to ride for Liquigas, was arrested in March in the northern city of
Aside from Da Ros, amateur racers, physios, gym staff and traders were caught up in the doping dragnet, which saw 64 searches of properties across the country.
The probe was launched 18 months ago after a television report entitled Muscles and Doping purported to show how athletes could obtain doping substances from traders.
Bosisio pleads innocence in dope case
In an unrelated case, Italian cyclist Gabriele Bosisio pleaded his innocence at a hearing with the Italian Olympic Committee's anti-doping prosecutor today.
Following an out-of-competition test in September, the 29-year-old LPR rider was accused of using the banned blood-booster EPO. "I've never taken EPO and I repeat that I am innocent," he said.
Bosisio was tested under the UCI's 'biological passport' scheme, which since its creation last year has charted the blood parameters of every professional in the world.
Blood samples taken from riders are analysed and compared to later readings on his/her passport. When anomalies appear the rider is often targeted by the UCI with a random doping control, when urine samples are usually taken.
LPR was the team of Italian Danilo Di Luca, who finished second in the Giro d'Italia in May only to be suspended later for failing two doping tests during the race.
© AFP 2009
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