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Pearl Izumi

85th Giro d'Italia (GT)

Italy, May 11-June 2, 2002

News for May 21, 2002

Edited by Jeff Jones

Stage 8 wrap up

The longest stage of the Giro finished in the ancient Roman hill town of Orvieto, with the stage being won by Aitor Gonzalez in the 4 kilometre uphill dash. Gonzalez attacked with 1 km to go to catch the favourites napping, and took the stage fairly comfortably in the end.

Jens Heppner had no problem holding onto his leader's jersey, with the stage dominated by a long breakaway by three sprinters, Alessandro Petacchi, Fabrizio Guidi and Massimo Strazzer. Guidi hung on until 3 km to go when he was swamped by the charging peloton.

Stage 8 full results & report
Live report

Post stage comments

Aitor Gonzalez (Kelme, 1st stage)

"This is a great win but has a slight bitterness due to the fall of Santiago Perez. He fell in front of me at the beginning of the stage when his wheel was touched by the one of another rider from the team."

"In the finale, I felt good and that is why I attacked. I also knew that the last 300 metres were easier."

"I am really a rouleur, but I prepared for this Giro with the view to the general classification. I have improved on the climbs. For the moment, I am limiting myself just to think of the Giro. I do not know if I will participate in the Tour de France or the Vuelta. I'll see at the end of the Giro."

"Garzelli? It is sad to return home like that."

Jens Heppner (Telekom, 1st GC)

"The team worked well. The race was long, but the three man break (Strazzer, Guidi, Petacchi) suited us well. None of them were dangerous for the classification. Telekom did not have any objective for the general classification at the start of the Giro. What we have now is a bonus."

Santi Perez hospitalised with cranial trauma

The worst victim of a crash in today's eigth stage of the Giro d'Italia, Santiago Perez (Kelme) was taken to hospital in Lucca, where he was diagnosed with cranial trauma without concussion. Perez underwent scans and x-rays, and also suffered from wounds to his forehead and jaw according to the race doctors.

Garzelli's counter-analysis due on Tuesday

The fate of Stefano Garzelli in this Giro will be decided on Tuesday, May 21 when the results of his second drug test are known. Garzelli tested non-negative to the banned drug probenecid after stage 2, but has been allowed to stay in the race until his counter-analysis is carried out by the UCI's laboratory in Lausanne. If this is positive, then Garzelli will be forced out of the Giro and will more than likely be sanctioned for drug use.

With regard to the other two non-negative drug tests for Nesp (Roberto Sgambelluri and Faat Zakirov), the results of the counter-analyses will be known by Wednesday. If positive, then Zakirov who is already out of the Giro will be fired by his Panaria team, while Sgambelluri (Mercatone Uno) will also be taken out of the Giro.

Sgambelluri's test was conducted during the Tour of Trentino on April 24, while Zakirov's was taken before the start of the Giro in Groningen, when all riders have to submit to blood and urine tests.

Nesp is a form of EPO that is stronger and longer lasting, helping to produce more red blood cells and increase oxygen transport in the blood. It is not produced by the body and is easy to detect by modern drug tests, as it lasts in the body for a long time.

Varriale and the wicked fridge

Rider names names in Brescia doping investigation

By Tim Maloney, European editor

Antonio Varriale's confession to the Prosecutor of Brescia, Roberto SpanÚ, has named a suspended Neapolitan police officer Armando Marzano as the key supplier of doping products. Marzano is currently in custody, while one of Varriale's ex-team-mates on Panaria-Fiordo, Nicola Chesini is under house arrest as the investigation continues. Domenico Romano, also named by Varriale, surrendered to authorities in Brescia today (Monday) and is now under arrest and has admitted to taking doping products.

After getting out of the Brescia jail, Varriale explained to Datasport what led up to his arrest, starting with the event of May 7th. He was Manerba del Garda with his wife at the house of her friend, who works as a maid in a hotel where Varriale and his good friend from Naples, Giuliano Figueras had often stayed while racing as amateurs.

The friend's house was where all the doping products were stored. Varriale was to ride in the Giro and when he went to the friends house on May 7th to get some doping products from the refrigerator where they were stored, he was caught in the act by surveillance TV cameras already installed in her apartment by the Prosecutor of Brescia.

Subsequently, Varriale was picked-up by the Brescia police and while under intense interrogation, named Chesini and Marzano as the main suppliers of the doping fridge stock, while naming Panaria teammate Filippo Perfetto (cousin of Figueras) as a consumer of said fridge products.

A surprised Varriale commented that..."When I saw the list of the stuff in the fridge, I was astounded, only one small part was mine. For example, there were amphetamines listed; we (racing cyclists) can't use them because they can be detected after 10 days use."

Varriale also denied use of Nesp 100, "They were Romano's," he claimed. Evidently the Nesp 100, still only an experimental drug, was traced to hospitals in Terni and from Varese, where the hormone was reported stolen from the hospital pharmacy.

"These substances were obtained and used not only by these riders but by their more famous teammates," stated Brescia Prosecutor SpanÚ, perhaps pointing the finger at Figueras.

Varriale also spoke of the continual methods to elude positive drug test results, such as "We used GH (human growth hormone) because it isn't detectable in urine tests. But we had to take this stuff to remain competitive...I don't know if there is anyone in the peloton who isn't using (illicit) products. Last year, we went to race in Spain (after taking illicit products) and I felt like I was riding a motorcycle I was so strong."

Now, after his arrest, Varriale is bitter. "I have been arrested, everything I have is at risk, but the guys who are riding the Giro have not been arrested".

Currently, Varriale, Perfetto and Chesini are suspended without pay from the Panaria-Fiordo team while awaiting the further progress of the investigation by SpanÚ, according to Panaria-Fiordo DS Roberto Reverberi. Faat Zakirov, Panaria-Fiordo rider is also suspended after his non-negative test for Nesp 100 at the prologue of the Giro d'Italia and will be fired immediately by Panaria-Fiordo if his counter analysis comes back positive.

Reverberi is outraged; telling Cyclingnews that "We even search the riders' bags now to make sure that they have nothing (illicit) with them, but we can't go to everyone's homes to check them!"