ROME (AP) Alex Schwazer made a triumphant return from a doping ban to win the 50-kilometer event at the world race walking team championships on Sunday.
The victory also secured the Italian a spot in the Olympic Games in Rio later this year.
Schwazer was banned for three years and nine months after testing positive for EPO before the 2012 London Games.
''It was a really lovely race, with an incredible support,'' Schwazer said. ''It was maybe one of the best races that I've competed in at home, an important race. I will never forget this race.
''I don't know if this will put an end to all the controversy and honestly I don't care. All I can do is do well in my races and everyone is free to say what they want. I'm focused on what I want to do for myself, everything else is relative.''
The 2008 Olympic champion showed no signs of a near four-year absence from competition as he stormed to victory in Rome, with a time of 3 hours 39 minutes, the second best time of the year.
Australian Jared Tallent, who became Olympic champion in March after Russia's Sergey Kirdyapkin was stripped of the 2012 title for doping, was second, 3 minutes, 36 seconds behind Schwazer. Ukrainian athlete Igor Glavan was third, 5:02 behind.
Italy claimed the team prize ahead of Ukraine, while Spain took bronze.