Report: Doping raid in Italy focuses on top pro team

Media reports signal a massive doping raid in Italy involving up to 1,000 agents.

Media reports signal a doping raid in Italy on Thursday.

That’s according to a small report on the Italian website that suggests Italian agents have centered on a “WorldTour” team based in the Veneto region of northern Italy. Agents have allegedly confiscated medical records of five Russian riders living in Spain.

The Katusha team issued a statement saying the team was cooperating with an investigation.

“Today, the Nas Unit of Carabinieri Army came in our General Headquarters in Lonato. The members of the army didn’t … search, but they restricted their visit to 5 riders’ case history checking, one of them no more enrolled in our team. We obviously offered our complete collaboration, giving to the soldiers the requested paper documents.”

Also on Thursday, Lampre-ISD officials confirmed that NAS officers searched the team’s hotel on the slopes of Mount Etna where Michele Scarponi is currently training ahead of the 2011 Giro d’Italia. Team officials said in a communique that the squad is cooperating with officials, who took with them packets of common anti-inflammatories, powdered milk and Enervit bars.

The action comes as Italian officials have been pushing for tougher action against cycling.

Also on Thursday, cycling officials are calling for increased bans of up to four years for blatant doping practices as well as bans for team officials, sport directors and support staff such as soigneurs.