5 February 2021

Italian pharmacist sanctioned with 12 year ban

Pharmacist Andrea Bianchi, who was accused of supplying drugs to cyclists as part of investigations into the Altopack Team, has been sanctioned with a 12 year ban, Italy’s national anti-doping agency (NADO Italia) announced. Police investigations into the Altopack Team were spurred by the death of 21 year old Linus Rumšas in 2017 from a heart attack. Four members of the family had been implicated in doping.

Several members of the Altopack Team and its entourage were arrested following police raids in February 2018. Luca Franceschi, the owner of the team and his father, Narcisso Franceschi, were both sanctioned with 30 year bans. Michele Viola, a former trainer with the team who was arrested alongside the Franceschis and Bainchi in 2018, was sanctioned with a 25 year ban last month. All were accused of supplying drugs to cyclists.

Italy’s anti-doping tribunal (TNA) will decide on whether to sanction Altopack’s Directeur Sportif, Elso Frediani, on 22 February. Andrea del Nista, a former Directeur Sportif at the team, was sanctioned with an eight year ban in October last year. Dr. Daniele Tarsi, understood to be a doctor to many cycling teams, was also sanctioned with a four year ban in January. In 2018, it was widely reported that he was one of he suspects in the Altopack investigation, although he denied involvement. He is currently Head of Healthcare at Spezia Calcio, which is competing in its first ever Serie A football season.

Brothers Niko and Yuri Colonna were also implicated in the Altopack investigations. Yuri will now be able to return to competition seven months earlier than his four year ban initially stipulated, after the TNA accepted that it should be backdated. Yuri, a member of the Zalf Euromobil Desiree Fior u23 cycling team, was sanctioned with a four year ban expiring on 17 July 2024 alongside his older brother Niko. NADO Italia confirmed that although Yuri’s four year ban stands, its backdating means it will now expire on 31 December 2023.

In an unrelated case, Luca Colnaghi has been sanctioned with a three month ban that has already been served. A NADO Italia statement outlined that the 22 year old cyclist returned adverse analytical findings (AAFs) during three doping controls on 30 August, 31 August, and 13 September 2020. Colnaghi was provisionally suspended in October last year due to AAFs for Andarine and Enobosarm, however his team blamed a contaminated ketones-based food supplement.

Gilberto Freguglia, understood to be a personal trainer, has been sanctioned with a three year ban ending on 31 January 2024. Marco Viannesi, understood to be a bodybuilder, has been sanctioned with a four year ban expiring on 1 February 2025. 

NADO Italia also announced that six people that are unaffiliated to an Italian sporting federation have been sanctioned. Emanuele Vaccarini has been sanctioned with a four year ban expiring on 1 February 2025. Davide Peluso has been sanctioned with a three year ban expiring on 31 January 2024. Alessandro Calcinaro has been sanctioned with a six year ban expiring on 31 January 2027. Filippo Funari, Emiliano De Gennaro, and Gianluca Giacinti have all been sanctioned with four year bans expiring on 31 January 2025.

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