By VeloNews Interactive wire services, copyright AFP2001
The banned substance found in the personal belongings of sacked Italian rider Dario Frigo is used to regulate blood, according to the Italian press Sunday.
Frigo was banned from all further participation in the Tour of Italy and sacked by his Fassa Bartolo team on Friday two days before the end of the three-week race when he was in the runners-up spot behind ultimate winner Gilberto Simoni.
The name of the substance is Emassist, “a synthetic haemoglobin modifier, created by a genetic genius”, according to the medical explanation for the drug on Sunday by Pierluigi Fiorella, a heart specialist and member of the Italian Cycling and Athletic Federations medical commission.
Emmasist is not available in Italy, according to Italian agency ANSA. However it can be bought in Switzerland and the United States, according to a specialist, and mostly via the Internet.
The 27-year-old has admitted that he was in possession of banned products when police and drugs squad officers ransacked riders and teams’ hotels on Wednesday night in San Remo.
Now almost half the riders competing in the Giro are under the scrutiny of judicial investigators. Seventy names of riders are said to be on the list of Florence magistrates who are at the forefront of the judicial action.
It is expected that the names of the first three riders will be named on Monday. The majority of riders who are at risk of legal action are suspected of possession of stimulants of the caffeine variety.
But “harder” substances have been found, several newspapers report, and it appears that one rider may have aided the inquiry by expressing his guilt and co-operating with investigators.
Earlier Frigo said he would help in any investigation, said: “I am not running away from my responsibilities, I will speak.”