The public prosecutor in the city of Mantua in Lombardy has opened an investigation into 35 people suspected of involvement in doping offences related to cycling.
According to Italian media, the investigation centres around the actions of a local pharmacist, Guido Nigrelli, although prosecutor Antonio Condorelli refused to comment on his alleged involvement.
Those being investigated include cyclists, trainers and owners of professional teams. However, Condorelli explained that the process was more about the trade in doping substances rather than the use of them, and added that professional cycling had a secondary role.
"The line of inquiry relates moreover to the commercialisation of doping substances rather than who uses them, and extends to foreign shores, although I have not yet made contact with those authorities," he said.
"Our investigation into doping is not important for the professional sportsmen implicated but for the fact that the banned substances have been diffused amongst amateur cyclists."
The investigation was begun at the end of 2008 and was due to last a year but has now twice been extended.
© AFP 2010