Davide Cassani responded to questions yesterday in Turin as a part of a sporting fraud investigation into motorised bikes.
During the 2010 Giro d'Italia, the former cyclist presented a motorised bike on television and said that some professionals had used a version of it since 2004.
"The person who gave it to us," said Cassani on Rai television, "confirmed that some professionals have used it."
Italian public prosecutor, Raffaele Guariniello, opened up a sporting fraud investigation Friday based on Cassani's claims. Betting on cycling is legal in Italy and so any attempt to change the results - with a motorised bike or doping - is considered fraud.
Last Monday, Cassani met with Philippe Chevalier, Sports Coordinator of the International Cycling Union (UCI). The UCI started to investigate the possibility that some professionals might be using motorised bikes after an article in Il Giornale, May 18, and Cassani's presentation, May 26.
Italy's and the UCI's investigations where partly helped by 'CyclingManagerItalia' posting a video on YouTube that claimed Fabian Cancellara used such a bike. The video pointed to Cancellara's strange finger movement during his winning attacks in the Tour of Flanders and Paris-Roubaix, which the video's author said was when Cancellara engaged the motor.
Cancellara and his Saxo Bank team brushed off the claims. In fact, Cancellara took his first race win since Paris-Roubaix by winning the Tour de Suisse time trial Saturday.
"People become frustrated with me winning," said Cancellara, "And they have to invent these things."
Cassani never claimed any foul play by Cancellara during the presentation of the motorised bike.
Cassani made the headlines in another investigation three years ago. He helped bust Michael Rasmussen in a whereabouts case by identifying the Danish cyclist training in Italy prior to the 2007 Tour de France. Rabobank forced Rasmussen to leave the race though he was in the lead with only four days to race.
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Gregor Brown is an experienced cycling journalist, based in Florence, Italy. He has covered races all over the world for over a decade - following the Giro, Tour de France, and every major race since 2006. His love of cycling began with freestyle and BMX, before the 1998 Tour de France led him to a deep appreciation of the road racing season.
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