GiroBio team ejected after drug raid

The organiser of the GiroBio has ejected Italian team Lucchini-Unidelta after a police search in Brescia and Savona, Italy, revealed banned medical products.

“The fundamental rule, commandment one of the GiroBio,” organiser Giancarlo Brocci told Italian paper La Gazzetta dello Sport, “is cleanness, transparency and credibility.”

The GiroBio, formally called the Baby Giro, is the under-27 version of the Giro d’Italia. Team Sky’s Peter Kennaugh won stage three and finished third overall last year.

Beginning last year, the organisers created strict rules and a controlled environment in an effort to develop young cyclists into exemplary professionals. Ahead of the race, every team must present all prescribed drugs and supplements to the race’s medical staff. The staff will then administer them when necessary.

Italy’s Anti-Narcotics Group (NAS) found and sequestered drugs and syringes Friday in five separate raids. NAS raided the home, car and office of Team Manager Bruno Leali, and the team’s training base and hotel at the GiroBio. The search was based on an ongoing investigation in Padua, which centred on professional cyclist, Lorenzo Bernucci, in April.

Yesterday morning, organisers ejected Leali and his six riders: Italians Omar Lombardi, Eugenio Alafaci, Luca Benedetti, Mirco Bertolani, Emanuele Moschen and Renzo Zanelli. Lombardi won stage one Friday, hours before police interrogated him and his team.

“Leali and his team violated the rules,” said Brocci. “This is how it is. We kicked them out. It was with regret and severity, but with the knowledge of doing the right thing with respect to the other cyclists and our project.”

“There were only legal drugs or what is medically necessary,” said Leali.

“I kept them in my bag, ready to use, but only after having a prescription. I knew that I could not keep these drugs, I was slightly imprudent, but I did it so I could intervene faster.”

With same severity, the Russian team was unable to start the race because it arrived without the proper documentation for its drugs.