Franco Pellizotti cleared in suspected drug case

Lawyer says biological passport is not reliable

Franco Pellizotti can race again after being cleared of any wrongdoing in a biological passport case

Italian cyclist Franco Pellizotti, third in the 2009 Tour of Italy, was on Thursday cleared of any wrongdoing in a case of suspected doping.


The Liquigas rider was suspended by cycling’s governing body the UCI in May as a result of abnormalities detected in his biological passport.

Anti-doping prosecutor Ettore Torri had called for Pellizotti to be handed a two-year ban but the case has been dismissed by Italy’s antidoping committee (TNA) for lack of evidence.

“A sufficiently high level of probability of guilt wasn’t established. The court absolves the rider of the charge against him,” the TNA announced.

Pellizotti said he was “satisfied” at the verdict and added he was considering the possibility of applying for damages from the UCI.

“I’ve had some difficult moments over the past few months,” he said. “It’s clear that my season was ruined with heavy consequences for my contracts. Even though I was forced to miss the Giro (Tour of Italy) I haven’t stopped training.”

Pellizotti’s lawyer, Rocco Taminelli, declared: “The biological passport is not reliable.”

The concept of the biological passport is designed to pick up cases of doping by detecting changes in a rider’s blood profile – it varies from a traditional test which is aimed at detecting banned products in a rider’s blood or urine.

The passport, introduced in 2008, has helped identify possible wrongdoers who are then subjected to traditional controls.


© AFP 2010