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Majka denies links to Italian doping ring

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Rafal Majka said doping allegations leveled at him are false. Photo: ©Tim De Waele | Getty Images

FLORENCE, Italy (VN) — Rafal Majka (Bora-Hansgrohe) wants to focus his 2018 season on the Tour de France, not police records that link him to an ongoing doping investigation in Lucca, Italy.

The Polish star, winner of three stages and the mountains classification twice in the Tour de France, is named by a sport director with the busted under-23 Altopack Eppela team as using testosterone and humane growth hormones.

“Referring to the media reports in which the word ‘doping’ appears close to my name, I declare that I do not agree to such slanders,” Majka wrote on Facebook.

“It is a direct attack on my past successes, which I have achieved only by hard work, sacrifices and frequent separation from my family.

“I cannot allow my name to be combined with any unfair activities which I have nothing to do with. I have never been a member of the Altopack team in respect of which anti-doping rule violation is pending now.”

Majka rode on the Tuscan Petroli Firenze team in 2010 before he signed a professional contract with Saxo Bank in 2011. The 28-year-old now rides for Bora-Hansgrohe and is aiming for the Tour de France general classification this summer.

Team Petroli Firenze’s sport director was Elso Frediani, one of six arrested last Thursday in a police sting that rocked Italian cycling and reached far around the world.

The Lucca prosecutor acted after the death of 21-year-old Linas Rumsas and the four-year suspension of his bother Raimondas Rumsas Jr., 23, for using growth hormones. Both rode for Team Altopack.

Police used wiretaps and put the team and riders under video surveillance. The under-23 riders were allegedly using micro doses of EPO, human growth hormones, and opiate-based painkillers, motivated by owner/manager Luca Franceschi and sport directors Andrea Del Nista and Elso Frediani — the same Frediani who worked on Team Petroli Firenze.

“Del Nista continued saying that when Majka was training with Frediani he was using testosterone and would throw the needles in the neighbor’s garden,” read police records seen by La Gazzetta dello Sport.

“Del Nista said that Majka’s jaw line changed, becoming almost squared, because he was using testosterone and human growth hormones.”

Majka distanced himself from the police report. It is unclear if Pietro Suchan, the prosecutor in central Italy’s Lucca, will aim beyond the under-23 cyclists to follow up on Del Nista’s claim.

Bora-Hansgrohe did not respond when VeloNews asked if it was investigating the findings.

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