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Police stage drug sweep at Tirreno-Adriatico

Italian drug squad officers swooped in the early hours of Sunday morning on the hotel rooms of several cyclists competing in the Tirreno-Adriatico cycling race, the ANSA news agency reported. In scenes mirroring last year's drug-tainted Giro d’Italia, police searched the rooms of cyclists Davide Rebellin, Fabio Sacchi, Gorazd Stangelj, Davide Casarotto, Stefano Casagranda and Endrio Leoni at 0500GMT. But all six riders were later cleared to start the 12.7km time trial around the central town of Rieti, stage four of the Tirreno-Adriatico. An inhaler was found in Rebellin's room but

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Riders cleared to ride, but results of home searches not revealed

By VeloNews Interactive wire services, Copyright AFP2002

Italian drug squad officers swooped in the early hours of Sunday morning on the hotel rooms of several cyclists competing in the Tirreno-Adriatico cycling race, the ANSA news agency reported.

In scenes mirroring last year’s drug-tainted Giro d’Italia, police searched the rooms of cyclists Davide Rebellin, Fabio Sacchi, Gorazd Stangelj, Davide Casarotto, Stefano Casagranda and Endrio Leoni at 0500GMT.

But all six riders were later cleared to start the 12.7km time trial around the central town of Rieti, stage four of the Tirreno-Adriatico. An inhaler was found in Rebellin’s room but after he signed a police document he was given it back while two ointments were taken from Casarotto although there was a medical prescription for the substances contained therein.

It was later revealed that police had also carried out searches of the homes of the five Italian riders (Stangelj hails from Slovenia) although investigators declined to comment on whether the searches had proved fruitful.

The searches were ordered by a court in the northern city of Padua as part of tough new Italian anti-doping measures. Doping products were found during the 2001 Giro triggering an investigation by prosecutors concerning more than 100 people.

Padua magistrate Paola Cameran is conducting one of the two police inquiries into last year’s Giro while the other is under the supervision of Florence magistrate Luigi Bocciolini.

Copyright AFP2002

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