Italian police raid turns up illegal drugs
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Italian Police are investigating today the findings of several raids, linked to Davide Rebellin and the amateur Giro d'Italia, GiroBio.
Under the direction of Padova prosecutor, Benedetto Roberti, around 100 officers carried out 22 searches linked to 30 athletes and doctors. Their findings are said to include banned pharmaceuticals in syringes and pills, none without documentation or prescribed use, according to Italian paper La Gazzetta dello Sport.
Most of the pharmaceuticals came from Eastern Europe, in particular Russia.
The investigation is partly linked to Italy's Rebellin, who finished second at the 2008 Olympic road race in Beijing and was later found positive for EPO. In Rebellin's home, police found prescriptions from Filippo Manelli, a doctor who is based some 150 kilometres away in Gavardo (Brescia).
Roberti was investigating why Rebellin was travelling so far for prescriptions when another police raid resulted in some clues.
Manelli's name popped up again on June 11, when police carried out several raids linked to sports director Bruno Leali. In Leali's home, they found prescriptions from Manelli and banned pharmaceuticals. Leali and his Lucchini-Unidelta team of six riders were immediately booted from the GiroBio, including winner of stage one, Omar Lombardi.
The homes of Manelli and five of Leali's six GiroBio riders were searched yesterday. Also the homes of a mountain biker, Francesca Faustini, a football player, four professional cyclists - Marco Velo (Quick Step), Marco Corti (Footon), Riccardo Chiarini (De Rosa) and Raffaele Ferrara (CarmioOro) - and others who had visited Manelli. They found nothing at the four professionals' homes.
La Gazzetta revealed there was another raid, reporting today that police carried out a raid at the Giro del Trentino - a pro race with many big names, including Alexandre Vinokourov and Riccardo Riccò. On the same day as the race started, April 20, police searched the headquarters of team that may have links to Manelli. The raid passed under the radar and the team in question is yet unknown.
Roberti's investigation is ongoing and is likely to result in bans.