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Gianni Savio promises legal action after being cleared in ‘pay and ride’ case

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Gianni Savio

Following accusations that he had charged riders to receive a slot on his Androni Giocattoli team, Italian manager Gianni Savio has issued a strongly-worded response to the claims.

Last week Savio, Bruno Reverberi and Angelo Citracca were cleared by the Italian Cycling Federation’s disciplinary commission in the ‘Pay and Ride’ investigation. Reverberi and Citracca are the managers of the Bardiani-CSF and Wilier-Southeast squads respectively.

In a statement issued on Monday, Savio said that the accusations against him were fuelled by a desire for vengeance by former rider Matteo Mammini, and were baseless.

The inquiry began after Corriere della Sera journalist Marco Bonarrigo reported that some riders were secretly forced to give back portions of their salaries to their teams. Rider agents reportedly confirmed that this pay to race system was in existence, as did Mammini. The Tuscan was fourth in the European under 23 championships and sixth in the world championships in 2012, but told Corriere della Sera that a team asked him to hand over 50,000 Euro in order to turn professional.

The subsequent investigation led to a request by the Italian Olympic Committee CONI that the three managers be banned for between one to three years, but the Italian Cycling Federation has rejected this. It also dismissed the claims made by Elia Viviani (Sky) that his friend Marco Coledan had been asked to pay a penalty to leave the Bardiani team.

Savio issued his statement on Monday and said that Mammini had slandered him. He said that he had consequently submitted both civil and criminal proceedings against him to the Public Prosecutor of Turin.