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Mt Hood Classic
Photo ©: Swift

News Flash for May 22, 2002

Edited by Jeff Jones

Simoni non-negative for cocaine

A surprise anti-doping control carried out on the eve of the Tour of Trentino on April 24 has revealed that the defending champion of the Giro d'Italia, Gilberto Simoni (Saeco) has tested non-negative for cocaine, a banned stimulant. Simoni was among 15 riders tested that day by the World Anti-Doping Authority (WADA), as well as Roberto Sgambelluri (Mercatone Uno), who turned out to be non-negative for Nesp, an improved form of EPO.

Simoni can demand a counter-analysis to confirm the result before he is forced out of the Giro, and that is expected to take a few days. Perhaps then we'll see a battle between Casagrande, Hamilton, Savoldelli and Evans for the overall honours?

It's another body blow for the race that yesterday lost Stefano Garzelli, with several other riders (Perfetto, Chesini, Varriale, Romano and possibly Sgambelluri) all being caught up in doping affairs of one sort or another.

Saeco-Longoni Sport has called a press conference at 11:00am local time to discuss the matter.

(The term "non-negative" is a UCI definition. A "positive" is determined only when both A and B samples are positive. Until then it's "non-negative". Ed)