By VeloNews Interactive wire services, Copyright AFP2002
The U.S. Postal Service cycling team on Saturday fired Gianpaolo Mondini following the revelation that the Italian rider was under investigation for doping.
Mondini, who only joined the star-studded American team in the off-season, was one of 13 riders for whom the Italian Olympic Committee (CONI) has requested lengthy bans for doping.
The 29-year-old Italian was one of the riders caught up in the police blitz on team hotels that brought the Tour of Italy into disrepute at San Remo on June 6 last year.
A number of products were seized, although it has not been revealed which products Mondini had in his possession. Although Mondini – who won a stage in the Tour de France in 1999 – and a host of less-known riders are still awaiting their fate, U.S. Postal reacted swiftly.
“Team management knew nothing about what Mondini was involved in when he joined US Postal,” a statement signed by general manager Mark Gorski said Saturday prior to the start of Sunday’s Tour of Flanders. Mondini and his co-accused could be banned by the Italian cycling federation if a request from CONI’s anti-doping commission for lengthy bans is granted. CONI had asked for Mondini, who formerly rode for the Italian Mercatone Uno team – whose team leader last year was Marco Pantani – to be banned for four and a half years.