Pellizotti absolved in doping case, demands damages

Rome: Franco Pellizotti asked for damages from the International Cycling Union (UCI) after being cleared on Thursday following an investigation into his biological passport.

The Liquigas rider, runner-up in the 2009 Giro d`Italia, was forced to miss this May`s race after the UCI said on the eve of the event that his biological passport data was suspicious.

However, Italy`s anti-doping tribunal ruled on Thursday that Pellizotti, who had always maintained his innocence, was not guilty because "there does not exist enough evidence to prove manipulation".

"I`m very satisfied after being absolved by the tribunal. Of course, I`ve lost a season and now we will ask for damages from the UCI," a smiling Pellizotti told reporters.

He could have faced a two-year ban if found guilty.

A biological passport is an electronic record where the results of all doping tests by a rider over a period of time are collated and compared.

Italy`s Francesco De Bonis was the first cyclist to be banned using the results from the groundbreaking technique in May but critics have questioned the passport`s reliability.

Cycling has been rocked by an array of doping scandals in recent years but several riders have been cleared of wrongdoing after complicated investigations.

Tour de France champion Alberto Contador is currently fighting a provisional suspension for testing positive for clenbuterol, which he says he must have consumed in contaminated meat.

Bureau Report

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