Scarponi and Katusha targeted in anti-doping operation

Michele Scarponi and Levi Leipheimer, Volta a Catalunya 2011, stage three

Lampre's Michele Scarponi and the headquarters of the Katusha team have been visited by Italian police as part of a widespread anti-doping operation.

Scarponi's team confirmed that the Nucleo Antisofisticazioni (NAS) yesterday visited their rider and searched his hotel room near Mount Etna, Sicily.

The Italian has been staying there as part of a team-organised altitude training camp, as he prepares for this year's Giro d'Italia.

Team Katusha handed over medical records to the Brescia NAS, who visited their Lake Garda headquarters.

They later confirmed that one of the five riders who had their records taken no longer rides for the team, and that they had "collaborated fully" with the NAS during the operation.

Lampre also released a statement, which insisted that nothing illegal was found during the search on Scarponi.

It read: Having received a message from the team's medical chief, Dr Guardascione, with the intention of guaranteeing the fullest transparency, the NAS has today (Thursday) carried out a search at the Hotel Corsaro di Nicolosi, in Etna, where Michele Scarponi is taking part in a training camp organised by the team.

At the end of the operation, which was carried out in a climate of extreme cordiality and co-operation, the officers took away packets of a common anti-inflammatory (Oki), powdered milk, and Enervit bars.

Scarponi joined the team for 2011, having ridden for the Diquigiovanni-Androni since returning from an 18-month ban for his part in the Operación Puerto case.

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