Rebellin Case: Quick Update
More on the Davide Rebellin case. The analysis of the “B sample” will take place on 28 May at the Chatenay Malabry lab in France. Assuming the analysis confirms the findings of the A sample, CONI will invite Rebellin for a hearing in Rome. Federico Cecconi, an experienced hand in these anti-doping cases, will serve as Rebellin’s lawyer. Cecconi’s name pops up frequently in Italian anti-doping cases, including defending the riders involved in the 2001 Sanremo Giro raids.
In the meantime, the criminal authorities in Veneto have also begun steps to open an investigation into Rebellin’s doping habits. The case is based in Padova. In particular, the investigators are interested in digging more deeply into Rebellin’s dealings with doping doc Enrico Lazzaro. Lazzaro already received a 14 month prison sentence as a consequence of the 2001 investigation into his activities, which included providing doping products to cyclists. Though Rebellin’s name surfaced in that investigation, he escaped penalty. This time around, the rider may not prove so lucky.
In other doping-related news, the Italian anti-doping court will hold a hearing on the case of Alejandro Valverde on 11 May. The CONI prosecutor has recommended a two year suspension for the Spanish rider as a consequence of his alleged involvement in Operation Puerto. In particular, Italian investigators matched Valverde’s DNA to one of the blood bags seized in the case. During the 11 May hearing, the court can confirm, reject, or revise the recommended sanction. In the case of Riccardo Riccò, the Court imposed a more lengthy sanction.
The UCI has decided that they are now interested in the Valverde case. The world cycling union will send a representative to the 11 May hearing to listen in on the court’s deliberation. According to the UCI’s rules, a sanction imposed by a national federation must be recoganized by all member federations. No doubt the UCI expects some resistance from Spain, where the Federation has already stated its unwillingness to recognize the Italian investigation. The UCI will send Mario Zorzoli to attend the hearing.
Basta, with all this doping news. Next time, some racing!