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By Fabio
Date: 5/24/2002
The "Doping Hurricane" really never stops to rock the Tour of Italy. Each day provides us with a new surprise. Generally not a good one, as it takes away one main favorite each day or two. First it was Stefano Garzelli, now it's Gilberto Simoni time.

Due to the the fact that he has given positive for "cocaine", something you all know, and despite the fact that it had nothing to do with the Giro itself, but was related to a test carried out one month ago, the organization of the Tour of Italy has decided to exclude Gilberto Simoni (Ita - Saeco-Longoni Sport) from the race. Rumours say that the decision was taken by common agreement between the organizers and the Saeco team itself, or at least that the Saeco Team Managers were intentioned to withdraw "Gibo" from the race.

Yesterday evening, after his stage victory, Simoni was questioned for about two hours by three inspectors of the Trento Police Mobile Squad (Simoni is originary of the Trento area), as Trento Public Prosecutor Bruno Giardina decided to open an inquiry about the matter. Simoni is NOT UNDER INVESTIGATION anyway, but was just questioned as "person informed of the facts".

Also Roberto Sgambelluri (Ita - Mercatone Uno) was excluded by the race, as the rider from Calabria had given positive for NESP in a TEST carried out DURING the Giro itself. Race organizers opted for excluding him without waiting for the counter-analysis results.

Race boss Carmine Castellano said his decision was due to "the pressure of other teams" and "out of respect for the cycling fans".

As for the Fantasy Giro, competitiors featuring Gilbeto Simoni in their line-up will obvioulsy follow the steps of the 47 Teams having Stefano Garzelli as "A" Category rider: in other words, they will lose all of their Simoni points in the next stage.

... more details to come later .. Stay Tuned !!

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