By VeloNews Interactive wire services, Copyright AFP2001
Riccardo Forconi, a member of Marco Pantani’s Mercatone Uno outfit, has been pulled from the Giro d’Italia after he failed a dope test, a source close to the Italian team revealed Wednesday.
Forconi was withdrawn by his team before the start of the 17th stage in San Remo. Forconi becomes the second rider to fail the new French-pioneered test for banned substance EPO after Alexia rider Pascal Herve, a Frenchman, was revealed to have tested positive Tuesday. He too was withdrawn by his team.
Both men were tested on the day of the prologue at Pescara on May 19. Forconi was ejected from the 1998 Giro, after blood tests revealed an abnormally high hematocrit reading. Herve has also had a previous brush with the authorities, having formerly been a member of the Festina team expelled from the 1998 Tour de France.
Herve, who like that team’s leader Richard Virenque had always denied being involved in doping, finally admitted in a high-profile trial last year to taking performance-enhancing drugs along with Virenque.