Mountain Bike Champion Paola Pezzo Cleared of Drug Charges
Champion to Retain World Cup, Gold Medal and World Championship

Pezzo's World Championship form in Chateau d'Oex Switzerland
(photo: Brent Brookler)
Thursday, January 22, 1998

Paola Pezzo, mountain biking's current World and Olympic cross-country Champion, has been cleared of charges she took steroids. Pezzo had tested positive for the presence of Nandrolene following her victory in the Annecy, FRA World Cup finals in September.

Yesterday, the Italian Olympic Committee (CONI), decided not to pursue Pezzo's positive test for Nandrolene due to "too many mitigating circumstances," including the procedures used in the testing by Chatenay-Malabry lab in Paris; the fact that the steroid in question is produced naturally in female athletes; and, the recent clearing of Dutch cyclist Yvonne Brunen under the same circumstances.

"I prayed that this thing would work out and now I'm crying for joy. Now I can start living again," Pezzo told La Gazzetta dello Sport. "I have always said I was innocent; there were so many doubts about the whole thing and now I am so happy," today's Gazzetta reported her as saying.

Pezzo was at home in Boscochiesanuova, Italy, yesterday when she was given the news by her coach Paolo Rosola.

CONI issued a brief statement: "After examining the entire case, and the further information that was introduced today (Jan. 21) we (CONI Anti-Doping prosecutor) have concluded that, without the certainty of the responsibility of the athlete, the inquest has decided to not pursue the case," the Gazetta reported.

"I prayed that this thing would work out and now I'm crying for joy..."
Apparently, the Anti-Doping Rules state that if there is any doubt as to the results of a positive tests, the case will not be pursued.

"The closing of the case of Paola Pezzo is a big lift for Italian cycling," Gian Carlo Cerutti, president of the Italian Cycling Federation told the newspaper.

Pezzo will race again in Ovieda, Spain, and said "although my preparation has been slowed down a bit by this whole thing. I am looking forward to the '98 season."

Nandrolene, according to Pezzo's US sponsor Gary Fisher Bicycles is "a long acting anabolic steroid often used by body builders to build muscle mass." — Sarah Love, Mountain Zone Staff

Related Stories:
[Pezzo Charged] [Doubts over Guilt] [Pezzo Exonerated]

[News Index] [Mountain Biking Home] [Mountain Zone Home]