The Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) has opened disciplinary procedures against Italian Leonardo Bertagnolli after anomalies in the Lampre-ISD rider’s blood profiles were detected.
Bertagnolli has subsequently announced his immediate retirement from the sport.
The UCI issued a statement on Wednesday afternoon: “After having informed all the parties concerned (rider, National Federation, team, National Anti-Doping Organisation and the World Anti-Doping Agency), the International Cycling Union (UCI) announces that a disciplinary procedure has been requested against the Italian rider Leonardo Bertagnolli for apparent violation of the Anti-Doping Rules on the basis of the information provided by the blood profile in his biological passport.”
“The rider shall be accorded the right to the presumption of innocence until a final decision has been made on this matter. Under the World Anti-Doping Code and the UCI Anti-Doping Rules, the UCI is unable to provide any additional information at this time.”
Blood profiles are logged throughout the year as part of a rider’s biological passport. Any unnatural fluctuations in blood values may be caused by the use of banned performance enhacing drugs or blood doping and trigger further investigation.
Bertagnolli turned professional with the Saeco team in 2002 and won a stage of the Vuelta a Espana in 2005 and a stage of the Giro d’Italia in 2009. He also won one-day race Clasica de San Sebastian in 2007.
The 34-year-old has variously ridden for Saeco, Cofidis, Liquigas, Amica Chips and Androni Giocattoli. He signed to Lampre-ISD for the 2011 season but has not enjoyed success on the squad, having failed to win any races since 2010 when he won a stage of the Tour of Austria.
Lampre-ISD rider Michele Scarponi is currently under scrutiny by Italy’s anti-doping prosecutor for his alleged involvement with banned docter Michele Ferrari. Scarponi has been named in Lampre-ISD’s Tour de France team.