By VeloNews Interactive
José “Chepe” Gonzalez has been fired by his team, Selle-Italia-Pacific, after Italian authorities charged him with doping offenses, his team announced Friday. The 32-year-old Colombian, a mountains specialist, was found in possession of a range of doping products at his team hotel last week.
Team officials also fired Colombian doctor Nino Alberto Beltran, who was also found with a number of illegal growth hormones and anabolic steroids when police carried out a routine search of his car on March 23.
Following the discovery in Beltran’s car, police, acting on a recently-passed law making doping a criminal offence, searched the team hotel and made their discovery in Gonzalez’s room.
Team members had been taking part in the Coppi-Bartali International Cycling Week.
Two other riders, compatriots Freddy Gonzalez and Ruber Marin, were also charged, as well as team manager Gianni Savio, and sports directors Fabio Becherini and Enzo Erluison.
José Gonzalez won a Tour de France stage in 1996, and two Tour of Italy stages in 1997 and 1999.
Copyright AFP 2001