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Prosecutor to question riders in Giro inquiry

A leading Italian prosecutor said Friday he expects to question a number of riders suspected of doping during this year's Giro d’Italia during hearings next month in Florence, a judicial source said Friday. In June, 86 people – about half of whom were riders – fell under suspicion of doping-related offenses after Italian drugs squad officers raided team hotels prior to the 18th stage of this year’s Giro. Now Florence prosecutor Luigi Bocciolini, who has been leading the judicial inquiry since the events on June 7 in San Remo, is calling for a number of professionals to step forward.

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By VeloNews Interactive wire services, copyright AFP2001

A leading Italian prosecutor said Friday he expects to question a number of riders suspected of doping during this year’s Giro d’Italia during hearings next month in Florence, a judicial source said Friday.

In June, 86 people – about half of whom were riders – fell under suspicion of doping-related offenses after Italian drugs squad officers raided team hotels prior to the 18th stage of this year’s Giro.

Now Florence prosecutor Luigi Bocciolini, who has been leading the judicial inquiry since the events on June 7 in San Remo, is calling for a number of professionals to step forward.

Among the 160 substances seized on the night in question were medicinal substances including cortisone-based products.

However according to later analyses 10 per cent of the substances found in the tens of unmarked bottles are “illegal substances,” including human growth hormone, insulin and a cutting-edge – though probably ineffective – blood booster called Hemapure. No traces of popular endurance booster erythropoietin (EPO) however were found.

Seventeen Italian riders, including veteran Alberto Elli, are among those called to the hearing while nine Spanish riders and the doctor from the Mapei team, Massimo Besnati, have also been called forward. None of the race’s more prominent names, including winner Gilberto Simoni, and former winner Marco Pantani – who pulled out after stage 18 – are on the list.

copyright AFP2001