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Cycling News and Analysis

News for June 9, 1999

More drug revelations

Conconi is to blame but the IOC and UCI still work with him

According to Judge Sandro Donati, the investigator of the Italian Olympic Committee, it was the Italian professor Francesco Conconi who introduced EPO into European sport. He was talking in an interview with the French newspaper Le Monde. The interview was published in Europe on Tuesday. According to Donati, the Sport's Medicine Institute run by Conconi in Italy was the basis of all the doping problems now being exposed in cycling. He said: "Conconi was the one who introduced EPO to the cycling peloton."

Donati said that Conconi was financially supported by the UCI and the IOC> "He had been given a great deal of money by the UCI and the IOC to find new methods of doping in sport. At the same time as he was conducting his experiments he was distributing the banned products to sportspersons. Samaranch and Hein Verbruggen must now explain why they still work with Conconi."

Pantani had no time to hide any EPO use!

Judge Donati has also cast doubt on Marco Pantani. He said that he heard from a source that the top 15 on GC in the Giro were tested informally on Friday by their team doctors. Pantani went to the laboratory and he had a plus 50 per cent reading. Donati: "The reading was above 50. But that should have been no problem at all for him. He had time enough to change that level with water, aspirin, and salt solutions on Saturday morning. The problem for Pantani was that the test came earlier than normally expected and the reading was still above 50."

Dutchman did the test

Dutchman Wim Jeremiasse, who has been a UCI international jury member and drug tester for around 30 years was the person who did the test on Pantani. He said: "I made my most important decision in my UCI career on Saturday."

He said they woke Pantani and his teammate Velo up at 7.25 am in the Hotel Touring in Madonna di Campiglio. At 7.30 am the riders were told they had to be in the room of team doctor Rempi and team manager Martinelli. After the tests they brought the blood to another hotel where the drug analysis was done on the medical apparatus. Normally the riders have 10 minutes to come to the room which is reserved by the UCI. Because the top 15 were staying in different hotels, the test were performed faster than normal. So it wasn't possible to bring back the hematocrit level by drinking several litre of water.

Jeremiasse said: "The first two tests of Pantani were above 50. In that case the rules say you have to inform the team manager and the team doctor and then there are 3 further tests. The average of the 5 tests are the definitive level. Pantani had 53 but because the measuring equipment can be deviate, you are given a reading of 1 percent below this average. So Pantani came officially in at 52."

Jeremiasse said there was not any pressure by Martinelli and/or Rempi to change the results and/or decision.

Pantani to decide today

Marco Pantani will give a press conference today to inform the public of his future.


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