June 18, 2009
It had to happen. It’s almost Le Tour time:
Lampre’s Pietro Caucchioli and Fuji-Servetto’s Ricardo Serrano have been suspended their teams after being named by the UCI as riders who showed abnormal values in the year-old system. Both teams stated that the riders showed the abnormal results during the 2008 season while riding for other teams.
Note that these are ‘abnormal values’ alone – no-one has been “caught” with a specific needle in their arm, or whatever.
But wait, there’s more:
Also named were former world champion Igor Astarloa, former Saunier Duval rider Ruben Lobato Elvira, who is without a team for this season, and Italian Francesco De Bonis (Serramenti PVC Diquigiovanni – Androni Giocattoli).
As I say, there may be a smoking gun, but nothing is “proven” beyond the fact that the blood values that are monitored were shown to vary over time in a substantial and unusual way that is usually indicative of doping. The ball is in the riders court to defend themselves, rightly or wrongly.