Anti-doping authorities in Italy announced this week that Paolo Savoldelli will face a disciplinary hearing on May 13 in response to accusations on the part of the Italian Olympic Committee (CONI) – following a request from the UCI and key testimony from USADA.
Despite his retirement from cycling in 2008, the Italian rider is being accused of "doping" in accordance with article 2.2 of the WADA anti-doping code, as alleged by Tom Danielson’s testimony during USADA’s investigation into Lance Armstrong and the US Postal Service team.
Both Salvoldelli and Danielson were teammates with Lance Armstrong at the US Postal Service team between 2005 and 2006. Savoldelli also rode for Team Telekom from 2003 to 2004 and Astana in 2007, before ending his career with LPR Brakes-Ballan. Salvoldelli won the Giro d’Italia in 2002 and in 2005 while a member of the Discovery Channel. He also raced with Armstrong in the Tour de France during that period as well – before retiring.
Danielson was previously banned from the sport for six months after he gave testimony to USADA during a 2013 investigation, wherein he admitted to doping. He has since returned to racing with the Garmin-Sharp team.
During questioning by investigators back in February, Savoldelli refuted allegations that he was part of a list of riders (Rider 1) who’s names were redacted from the testimony provided by Danielson to USADA.
Danielson described how “Rider 1,” a fellow Dr. Ferrari client, had organized a system for obtaining EPO during the 2006 Giro d’Italia. “I went to Rider 1 and asked him if he could help me with EPO for the race but he said that he had only enough for himself,” Danielson said.
Salvoldelli responded to Danielson’s accusations in an interview with the Italian newspaper Corriere by saying:
“Of course I know him, but I don’t know English and he doesn’t know Italian, so how could we have discussed it?”
“Danielson was given a two-year ban that was reduced to six months for collaborating, so what he says should be taken with a grain of salt. You only need to read his confession with intelligence to realize what it’s worth.”
While Salvoldelli doesn’t deny his association with Dr. Ferrari as a client, he still defended his reputation in light of the fact that Ferrari was given a lifetime ban by USADA in 2012.
“I collaborated with him in the past, but that was well-known and I didn’t hide it,” Savoldelli said. “Michele Ferrari, as I know him, is the best trainer there is. I won’t put my hand in the fire, but as I know him, he was the best. I don’t know English, and I don’t know if that decision is right or wrong. If he has made mistakes, they will come out.”
If found culpable, Salvoldelli faces a two year – eight month ban from the sport as requested by Italian investigators.
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