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Photo ©: Sirotti

News for June 16, 2002

Edited by Jeff Jones and Anthony Tan

Simoni investigated for sporting fraud; hair samples analysed

Gilberto Simoni has been investigated by the public prosecutor in Trento, Bruno Giardina, for the crime of sporting fraud. Giardina has also registered for an inquiry to take place on Simoni's aunt, Giacinta Moser (sister of Francesco) for the presumed crime of the sale of illegal or counterfeit items. This is in relation to the Simoni's assertion that the candy that his aunt gave to him contained cocaine, which were imported from Peru.

The inquest began after Simoni was found non-negative for cocaine on May 22 during the Giro d'Italia; however these findings were initially in relation to a urine test conducted at the Giro del Trentino on April 24. Simoni and the Saeco team management defended his actions, stating that the cocaine was given to him by his dentist - which later turned out to be untrue, as carbocaine and cocaine have distinctly different structures, and give different results in a urine test.

After the second non-negative result occurred from a urine test taken at the Giro d'Italia, Simoni changed his story, explaining the origin of his problems relate to imported Peruvian candies that were given to him by his aunt, which he took to fight off a throat infection.

Next Tuesday, the magistrate will enlist the services of Professors Santo Davide Ferrara and Luciano Tedeschi, chemical specialists who work in the laboratories of the Institute of Legal Medicine in Padova. Professors Ferrara and Tedeschi will analyse the hair samples of Gilberto Simoni to determine and verify the actual source of the cocaine found in Simoni's urine samples.

Simeoni will return to racing on June 30

The Sporting Tribunal in Losanna has granted Acqua e Sapone rider Filippo Simeoni a "partial" suspension, allowing him to return to racing from June 25. In February this year, Simeoni admitted to taking EPO and human growth hormone under the instruction of Italian sports doctor Michele Ferrari.

Simeoni, who is riding for Mario Cipollini's Acqua e Sapone team this year, said that he started taking drugs in 1993, and in 1996-7 Ferrari prescribed him EPO and human growth hormone. "I started to go to Dr Ferrari in November 1996 because I'd heard he was very good, very professional. I went to Ferrara (where Ferrari had his office) and the doctor set me up with a training program, including levels of progression."

"I decided to tell the truth to break the 'omerta' (code of silence) in the hope that it can help to fight the problem of doping which involves cycling and sport in general," said Simeoni.

Simeoni told journalists that he had not been subjected to any pressure by his fellow riders after he had made the decision to testify.

"It is a victory for my lawyers - I would like to thank Giovanni Fontana and Andrea Gemma in their advanced line of defence. The judges have rewarded my behaviour in the fight against doping. My only regret is that I won't be able to compete in the Tour of Switzerland."

Simeoni's next race will be the Italian Championship, to be held in Veneto on June 30.

Drug raid on house of Sandro Giacomelli

Under the instruction of Florence magistrate, Luigi Bocciolini, members of the Italian Financial Police (NAS) have searched the house of former Amore e Vita professional Sandro Giacomelli for illegal doping substances. 32 year old Giacomelli was a professional cyclist from 1995 to 2001, and is now a directeur-sportif for Team Montemurlo Empolese Vangi, a junior squad based in Tuscany, as well as being the regional DS for the region of Arezzo.

A number of items were found in Giacomelli's home in Empoli, including vials of ephedrine, what appears to be caffeine tablets and other anonymous drugs that will shortly undergo analysis.

Magistrate Bocciolini was responsible for the investigation on over 100 cyclists from last year's Giro d'Italia, where 47 riders, directors and soigneurs combined are still under investigation, including Jan Ullrich.

Giacomelli's inquiry is also being linked to that of Index-Alexia rider Giuseppe Di Grande, one of 13 cyclists who had recently had been recommended for suspension by CONI (the Italian Olympic Committee) following the raids during the 2001 Giro. The Italian Cycling Federation (FCI) has yet to pass judgment on Di Grande based on CONI's recommendation.

Savoldelli to race in the footsteps of his Giro predecessor

Recent surprise winner of the Giro d'Italia, Paolo Savoldelli, will today compete in the GP SBS, a prestigious 14.5km mountain time trial from Miasino (SBS's headquarters) to Mottarone, held in the province of Novarra.

The 12km Mottarone climb, although not used in this year's Giro, has been the scene of some epic battles in previous editions of Italy's grand tour, averaging 7.48% and rising to 1421 metres.

Last year, Gilberto Simoni stamped his authority on the penultimate stage of the Giro, where riders had to tackle the climb twice. Simoni launched a solo attack on the second ascension of the Mottarone and cemented his victory on the stage with a winning margin of two and a half minutes over "il Falco", Paolo Savoldelli.

US Postal Tour team not decided yet

There are two certainties in the US Postal team for the Tour de France: Lance Armstrong will be riding it and young Belgian Tom Boonen will not. This is according to directeur sportif Dirk Demol, who said that there 12 candidates for the other eight places. It's likely that George Hincapie, Roberto Heras and Jose Luis Rubiera will fill three of those spots, with Viatcheslav Ekimov and Floyd Landis also staking claims through their performances in the Dauphine Libéré.

Landis in particular has impressed in his first year with the team. "As for as the racing goes, I have lots to learn, as I do with training and resting as well," he said. "This team experience has been wonderful, I couldn't be happier. I couldn't ask for better people to surround myself with. I still have a ways to go and Johan said I should focus on being my best in July."

Lampre-Daikin for Tour de Suisse and Volta a Catalyuna

Lampre-Daikin will line-up with Pavel Tonkov, Juan Manuel Garate and Mariano Piccoli as part of the team for Tour de Suisse, which takes place Tuesday 18 to Thursday 27 June. Juan Manuel Garate and Pavel Tonkov are aiming to build on their excellent results in the Giro d'Italia, where they finished 4th and 5th overall, with Tonkov getting a stage win.

The team: Pavel Tonkov, Juan Manuel Garate, Mariano Piccoli, Johan Verstrepen, Raivis Belohvosciks, Rubens Bertogliati, Gabriele Missaglia, Luciano Pagliarini. Team manager: Pietro Algeri.

Ludo Dierckxsens and Raimondas Rumsas will captain the Lampre-Daikin team in Volta a Catalunya, which runs from Monday 17 to Sunday 23 June. The two riders are aiming at a good result in light of recent performances: Rumsas ended up as second behind Mikel Zarrabeitia in the Bicicleta Vasca, and Dierckxsens missed the highest step of the podium in the Tour de Belgique, after being a protagonist of the race since the prologue.

"Most of the team for the Volta a Catalunya will take part in the upcoming Tour de France. I expect especially Raimondas Rumsas, Ludo Dierckxsens and Jan Svorada to give us positive signs," said team manager Giuseppe Saronni.

The team: Ludo Dierckxsens, Raimondas Rumsas, Jan Svorada, Sergio Barbero, Alessandro Cortinovis, Manuel Quinziato, Marco Pinotti, Marco Serpellini, Team manager: Maurizio Piovani.

Mapei-Quick Step for upcoming races

Top team

June 16: GP Kanton Aargau - Gippingen, Switzerland

Riders : Elio Aggiano, Kevin Hulsmans, Robert Hunter, Miguel Martinez, Gerhard Trampusch, Charly Wegelius DS: Serge Parsani, Valerio Piva.

June 17-23: 82nd Volta Ciclista a Catalunya, Spain

Riders : Laszlo Bodrogi, David Cañada Garcia, Oscar Freire, Pedro Horrillo, Luca Paolini, Eddy Ratti, Tom Steels, Andrea Tafi. DS: Jesus Suarez Cueva, Erik Vanderaerden.

Young Riders

June 17-23: Gran Prix Cycliste de Beauce, Canada

Riders : Giampaolo Cheula, Aurélien Clerc, Allan Davis, Michael Rogers, Frederik Willems, Leonardo Zanotti. DS: Matxin Fernandez Rodriguez

Aerts to Telekom

According to Het Laatste Nieuws, Lotto-Adecco's Mario Aerts will probably join Telekom next season. Next week, he will sign a preliminary contract with the German team.

No Vainsteins in Tour

Domo-Farm Frites will not be taking sprinter Romans Vainsteins to the Tour de France. Vainsteins is not considered to be in good enough form after recovering from an operation to remove a cyst from his scrotum. Domo will be taking Axel Merckx, Richard Virenque, Dave Bruylandts and Tomas Konecny for certain.

Steels in for Mapei

Tom Steels has learned from his Mapei-Quick Step team that he will be part of their squad for the Tour. Steels won two stages in 2000, but since then has had a lot of problems with sickness. He has been in better form this year, winning a stage in the Four Days of Dunkirk.

Vermaut welcome at Collstrop-Palmans

Stive Vermaut may be able to resume his racing career with Belgian division II team Collstrop-Palmans, as there is no future for him at Lotto-Adecco any more. Yesterday Vermaut had a meeting with Lotto manager Christophe Sercu and team doctor Daniel De Neve. The outcome, as expected, was that he will not be welcome back to the team due to De Neve's concerns about his heart problems, which Vermaut may be able to control. Vermaut will undergo some more tests in Germany before making his decision.

Ullrich gets his car back but can only look

Although the German champion has his driving licence suspended for the next 12 months for driving while intoxicated, the German courts have decided to release Ullrich's beloved Porsche 911 from the compound where it has been detained since his accident. Could this be a show of leniency or an alterior motive on behalf of the German judicial system to test Jan's resolve?

USA to field team for Pan Am Masters in Cuba

Riders wanted

US masters cyclists are needed for the team that will compete at the UCI's Pan Am Masters Continental Championships in Havana, Cuba, October 20-27, 2002. Road and Track events will be contested in the following 5-year age groups for both men and women: 30-34, 35-39, 40-44, 45-49 and so on to 70+ for men and 60+ for women.

The US delegation will be led by Mike Fraysse, two-time US Olympic Cycling Team Manager and Vice President of the UCI's Pan American Cycling Confederation. Fraysse most recently managed the US team that competed in the 2002 Vuelta a Cuba (UCI 2.5).

Riders selected for the squad will also have the opportunity to race in the ISU Friendship Cup in Cienfuegos, Cuba, October 16-20. The Cup will be contested by some of Cuba’s top riders, including two-time Vuelta winner Pedro Pablo Perez.

More information is available here. Please email with any questions.