Cycling: 'Absolved' Pellizotti demands damages

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The Independent Online

The Italian cyclist Franco Pellizotti asked for damages from the International Cycling Union (UCI) after being cleared yesterday following an investigation into his biological passport, the record of a rider's doping tests. 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 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," said Pellizotti. "Of course, I've lost a season and now we will ask for damages from the UCI." 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 are collated and compared. In May Italy's Francesco de Bonis was the first to be banned using results from the technique 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.

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