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T-Mobile Comes Down Hard on Bernucci

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Team T-Mobile is taking its anti-doping policies pretty seriously:

The T-Mobile Team last night terminated Lorenzo Bernucci upon notice from the UCI of his A-sample positive test for "Sibutramine" and a subsequent discussion with team management which determined a code of conduct violation had occurred. Bernucci was tested at the Tour of Germany on 15 August 2007 (Längfeld - Kufstein). "Sibutramine" is a non-amphetamine appetite suppressant sold under various brand names including "Reductil" and "Ectiva"....

Upon learning of the positive test, Bernucci told the team management that he had been taking "Ectiva", purchased over the counter at a pharmacy in Italy, in order to suppress his appetite. He reportedly used the product for four years and did not understand the product was added to the WADA list of prohibited substances last year....

"We do not know if this was an attempt at performance enhancement or just poor judgment. But we know it is unacceptable that riders take any medication without the approval of the team doctor. It's a clear violation of our code of conduct and we act now on that basis", said team general manager Bob Stapleton.

Wow. So is he an idiot or a cheat? T-Mobile sends a pretty stern message that they don't really care which is the case. I suppose that's OK... riders are on notice that they not only can't cheat, they'd better not be sloppy about their compliance either. If Bernucci isn't a cheater, he'll probably recover. But he's learned a rough lesson.