By VeloNews Interactive , Copyright AFP 2001
Dario Frigo, fired by his Fassa Bortolo team last week after drugs were found in his room during the Giro d’Italia, spoke publicly at a press conference in Biella, Italy, Friday. The 27-year-old claimed that he had not taken banned substances and also denied media reports that he had acted as a police informant.
“I have never taken doping products and I never named any colleague,” said Frigo who was flanked by a lawyer. “It was a weakness on my part to have these medicines, but I was conscious not to use them.” Frigo admitted that he deserves to be punished after being found in possession of banned substances during a blitz by more than 200 police on team hotels in San Remo, June 6. The substances have not yet been identified.
“I made a mistake and it is right that I pay for it,” said Frigo, who won Paris-Nice and the Tour of Romandy this spring. “One day I will return and be stronger than before, I am sure of it. The worst moment will be when I have to return to the group and look my colleagues in the face.”
“It was a stupid thing to do,” Frigo continued. “I am fully aware of it. I can’t say what type of substances were found on me, but they were in a case and … they would have been until Milan where I would have thrown them away.” Frigo also said that he has never tested positive for drugs and denied that he had implicated anyone else in his evidence to police. “I only spoke about my individual case. I am not an informant. I have not given the names of any other riders as has been reported in the paper today. I only think about what concerns me. Let the law take its course. I will accept any decision with good faith. I did not go to police to collaborate and to obtain a lesser sanction.” Frigo said he also believed his team was right to fire him. “I fully support the decision of my team to sack me,” said Frigo. “There was a health rule and I did not respect it. They were right to do what they did.” Since his expulsion from the Giro it has been widely reported that Frigo co-operated with the police inquiry and gave important information to investigators although until Wednesday’s press conference he had never denied this. Asked about suggestions that cycling activity be suspended in Italy, Frigo said: “What good is a suspension — if a cyclist wants to race he can go to France or Switzerland. This is not how to solve the problem.” Italian Cycling Federation Giancarlo Ceruti, speaking around the same time Frigo was giving his press conference, called on the sacked Fassa Bortolo rider to co-operate with authorities. “Now Frigo must collaborate with the magistrates, explain how he got hold of these doping products,” Ceruti told RTL radio. “This is the only way that it is possible to identify who is trafficking in doping products in cycling.”