Rome: Italian cyclist Gabriele Bosisio pleaded his innocence at a hearing with the Italian Olympic Committee`s Anti-doping prosecutor on Monday.
The 29-year-old LPR rider was caught by an out-of-competition test in September which detected traces of the banned blood-booster EPO.
"I`ve never taken EPO and I repeat that I am innocent," he said.
LPR was the team of Italian Danilo Di Luca, who finished second in the Tour of Italy in May only to be suspended later for failing two doping tests during the race.
Bosisio was caught thanks to the UCI`s revolutionary `biological passport`, which since its creation last year has charted the blood parameters of every professional in the world.
Blood samples taken from riders are analysed and compared to later readings on his/her passport. When anomalies appear the rider is often targeted by the UCI with a random doping control, when urine samples are usually taken.
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