The Italian team let out a huge sigh of relief on Thursday night when UCI president Pat McQuaid said Paolo Bettini would be able to ride in Sunday’s Elite Men’s Road Race.
Defending World Champion Bettini had been at the centre of controversy after it was reported that suspended rider Patrick Sinkewitz had accused him of supplying banned substances. Sinkewitz has now openly denied ever having accused Bettini of such action.
The Italians’ celebrations were short lived when the Italian anti-doping investigators Procura announced they had deferred Danilo Di Luca (pictured) – meaning he would not be able to ride the World Championships.
The Procura have asked that Di Luca is suspended for four months for working with Dr Santuccione while he was suspended for doping. Di Luca announced the news himself in a press conference before packing his bags ready to head home.
It is expected that Giovanni Visconti or Vincenzo Nibali will replace Di Luca in the nine-rider Italian team for Sunday’s men’s Elite road race.
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Official 2007 Road World Championships website: www.radwm2007.com.
Union Cycliste Internationale: www.uci.ch.