Mario Zorzoli reinstated as UCI doctor and scientific advisor
The Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) has reinstated Dr. Mario Zorzoli as its doctor and scientific advisor, according to a statement released Tuesday.
Dr. Zorzoli, who has worked at the UCI since 1996, was suspended from his position after testimony from former professional racer Michael Rasmussen was released in late January.
“The Cycling Independent Reform Commission (CIRC), whose mandate and terms of reference covered the period in question, reported that they found no evidence to support the allegations. Our review reached the same conclusion and therefore Dr. Zorzoli was asked to resume all his normal duties as UCI doctor and scientific advisor with immediate effect,” the UCI statement reads.
Rasmussen’s testimony, which was focused on former Rabobank and Team Sky doctor Geert Leinders, accused Zorzoli of recommending that Leinders give Rabobank riders the banned hormone DHEA because “all the other teams were doing it as well.”
The testimony also accused Zorzoli of protecting Rabobank, and Rasmussen specifically, from doping controls at the 2005 Tour de France.
According to Rasmussen, Leinders met with Zorzoli at the start of the 2005 Tour. Following the meeting, Rasmussen was assured by Leinders that “Rabobank was a team that had ‘butter on its head’ … meaning that all the problems, doping related problems the team had, would slide off. And he called me the most protected rider in the race.”
UCI handed the investigation into both of these allegations to the Cycling Independent Reform Commission (CIRC), which released its report two weeks ago. The CIRC report appears to clear Zorzoli of the former allegation, Zorzoli’s alleged recommendation of DHEA, but makes no mention of the latter.
“[CIRC] has been unable to confirm any allegation regarding [Zorzoli’s] supposed advice about taking a prohibited substance,” the report states, in reference to the DHEA allegation.
The report also states: “CIRC notes that several interviewees expressed their high regard for Mario Zorzoli, both for his scientific expertise and his honesty.”
VeloNews has reached out to the UCI for clarification on the second allegation, that a meeting with Zorzoli led Leinders to believe Rasmussen was the “most protected rider in the race.” The UCI has not yet responded.