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By Fabio
Date: 5/18/2002

The Doping Hurricane stormed the Tour of Italy again. And again. And in the worst way possible. According to a spokeperson of the Mapei-Quick Step Team, the new "non-negative "rider" would be no less than the Pink Jersey in person.

The (so far) dominator of the "pink race" would have given a non-negative results to an anti-doping test, presumably the one held after Stage 2, finishing to Ans/Liege, and won by the Mapei's Lombard rider. According to reports, the banned substance Garzelli would have taken is a diuretic (maybe probinicid, a substance NOT YET on sale in many countries], which can be used to mask other doping substances.

Not many details have been given by Mapei, which also spoke of a possible "plot" against them (Mapei is known as one of the most involved team in fight against doping), causing a not so happy reaction by race director Carmine Castellano ("They should speak this way only if they have the proofs. If they have not, they'd better avoid these statements" the Giro boss said to Italian TV). Mapei-Quick Step, which say they still believe in Garzelli's innocence, will give a press conference later in the morning anyway.

Briefly interviewed by Italian TV, Garzelli sounded serene and said "it would be a nonsense for a man ro ruin himself this way, but what can is ay ? Should the counter-analysis confirm these results I'll leave cycling and do something else".

In the meantime, seems that Garzelli will be allowed to continue the Giro until the results of his counter-analysis are known. (Of course the final outcome of this story will also affaect our site's "Fantasy Giro", as according to the rules any rider excluded from the race due to doping-related reasons would immediately lose all of his points). The situation is quite complicated as the Giro d' Italia's own rules seems not to provide for an exclusion of a rider in this case, but the new UCI rules do.

And maybe the same is going to happen to Faat Zakirov, the Panaria's Russian who, according to rumours, is one of the two riders (the other is NOT GARZELLI, but a further cyclist whose name is yet to be made public) who tested non negative for NESP (a lasting and more effective form of EPO, which boosts oxygen flow by increasing the number of red blood cells in the body) after a test conducted in Groningen, and whose I spoke of in yesterday evening's "The Doping Hurricane Storms the Giro" article (see link at he bottom of the page).

Zakirov is another member of Panaria-Fiordo, which is getting more and more involved in this bad doping affair, such that their most famous rider, Julio Alberto Pérez Cuapio said his morale is lowest than ever.

In the meantime, seems that a banned performance-enhamcing substances dealer, involved in the same "Panaria affair", has given himself up to the police. According to reports it would be Armando Marzano, a FORMER POLICEMAN (!!!) who has been put ander arrest in the Santa Maria Capua Vetere prison near Caserta (Campania region of Italy).

The same inquiry led to the arrests of Panaria's riders Antonio Varriale and Nicola Chesini (see links below), while the investigators in Brescia are waiting for anotehr cylist, Former Panaria now Landbouwkrediet's Domenico Romano to appear before them spontaneously in the next days. Romano abandoned the Giro after the Starsbourg stage, and seems that his whereabouts are not known.


Related Articles
Panaria's Varriale Arrested in Italy !!
The Doping Hurricane storms the Giro (again) !!

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