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In which we discuss elephants in the room.....

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On the trail of a handful of doping positives this fall, mostly hitting the unfortunate, unfortunate Astana team an even bigger story seems to be brewing as one of the glacially advancing Italian police investigations has taken a leap forward and looks set to throw a nasty chunk of scandal cycling's way.

NICO CASAMASSIMA/AFP/Getty Images

As much as we'd like to avoid this stuff it looks like we're stuck in the middle of another shitstorm. This time it is the big investigation in Padua that has been looking into the activities of Michele Ferrari and the network around him that has handed over a dossier of their findings to the Italian Olympic Committee CONI. It is said to mention as many as 90 riders , , many of them previously not implicated in any doping allegations, according to Gazzetta dello Sport. Needless to say when the details of this become public it will be another bitter pill for the sport to swallow even if much of it will be "old news". The investigation has been ongoing for a long time and has not only looked into the doping side but also the extensive money transactions between the riders, teams and Ferrari and his associates. Some of the details and names have already been leaked.

Especially troublesome it looks for the Astana team who not only have had many of their riders and their glorious leader Vinokourov mentioned in the Padua news already but who now seem to have another embarrassing thing to explain as police are said to have evidence of team staff interacting with Ferrari (who is banned for life from working in any capacity in cycling) at a team trainingcamp in November 2013. Allegedly there is no mention of Vincenzo Nibali in the dossier but the net seems to close in on the TdF champ as his trainer Paolo Slongo is said to be mentioned somehow and that makes the sicilian's position ever more precarious. Even if he should come out of all this unscathed his team looks to be in for a rough ride with the UCI already giving them the stink eye in the current license renewal discussions.

Time will tell when and what comes out of the work CONI has ahead of it with the police file but this is unlikely to go away any time soon. For now all we have is speculation but the timing really couldn't have been worse for Astana who seem to have all eyes on them at the moment. They aren't likely to be the only team to get in trouble over this but they are the ones already in deep trouble.

Details on the mess in english: Cyclingnews