Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec manager Gianni Savio has reacted to the announcement that the UCI’s disciplinary commission has dismissed the team’s appeal against a month-long suspension, saying that he is ‘bewildered’ by the ruling.
Savio’s team was suspended from August 1 to 31 due to the positive tests of Davide Appollonio and Fabio Taborre, who were caught using EPO and FG-4592 respectively.
Under UCI article 7.12.1, teams with two positives – other than those for specified substances – will face suspensions between 15 and 45 days. The UCI’s disciplinary commission applied a ban of 30 days.
Savio said that the team had only appealed against the suspension as a matter of principle, as the squad had accepted a similar suspension from the anti-doping group MPCC.
However he outlined a number of preventative measures that he said proved that the team couldn’t have done any more to prevent doping.
He said these measures including anti-doping seminars where the medical/sports aspects and criminal implications of doping were outlined, an internal regulation all riders had to sign against doping, which accepted the payment of a large fine if they were found to be positive, plus the requirement that all riders had to give their passwords to their biological passports so that the team doctors could monitor the values.
He also said that the team didn’t apply a ‘results at all cost’ approach, but rather provided support to the riders via the sporting directors and the coaches. Finally, he added that the riders’ performances were all monitored by the Selfloops platform, and that all of the riders – even Appollonio and Taborre – showed normal values.
“Not surprisingly, even the [disciplinary] commission explained and highlighted the measures described and noted that, ‘the decision to dismiss the appeal cannot be interpreted as a statement that the team would not take measures reasonably adequate to prevent violations,’” said Savio.
“Moreover, they added, ‘the decision to dismiss the appeal cannot be interpreted as a finding of involvement of one or more members of the team.’
He said that the team would have had to prove the unprovable in order to avoid the sanction that was handed down.
Meanwhile the team announced the dates that Taborre and Appollonio will face their first hearing in the Italian courts. Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec riders are required to sign a commitment not to dope and to accept a potential penalty of 100,000 euro if this rule is broken.
The team is suing both riders for that amount.
Appollinio will appear before judge Dr. Giunti in Lucca on March 18, while Taborre’s trial will take place before a Dr. Di Donato in Turin on March 22.
“It is a historic turning point in the fight against doping,” claimed the team, “because the two cases are, in the history of cycling, the first judicial initiative taken by all the members of a team against two former athletes of the same group.”