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Now Simoni: Non-Negative

– Source: Gazzetta dello Sport –

Cocaine found in a control last month. Gilberto proclaims his own innocence and accuses a dental operation. The racer faces disqualification.

CASTERLMOLTURNO (Ce), 22 May 2002 – The facts: Gilberto Simono has given a non-negative result for cocaine and for the metabolites of cocaine, benzocaine and other substances, in a surprise control from WADA (world agency of anti-doping) last April 24th during the Giro di Trentino. Then news has been confirmed for Gazzetta dello Sport by Simoni himself and Claudio Corti, his team manager at Saeco-Longoni Sport. The squad received the official communication Tuesday from the UCI and a similar notification from FederCiclo Italiano (the Italian cycling governing body), who affirmed the non-negative. Simoni has five days time to ask for a counter analysis, the UCI has 30 days to do it. The results of the exam will be communicated to the FCI and from there to the Disciplinary panel, who in the case of a confirmed positive would immediately suspend Simoni from racing. Therefore, in theory, this would end his Giro. If instead the analysis comes after the Giro is finished, with Simoni the winner, it‚s not clear whether the result would stand or not. The disqualification would begin at the moment of his suspension.

The case regarding the winner of the 2001 edition of the Giro however is not clear, beginning with the origins of traces of illicit substances in Simoni’s urine. “The 24th of April I returned to the Hotel at 10:30” – says Simoni – “after having been at the dentist for a series of small operations. Among other things he gave me an injection: only through this can I explain the presence of cocaine in my body. For me this is a heavy blow, but I want to continue the Giro: I’ve never used cocaine and have always thought the controls would happen once a week. The technicians from WADA haven’t said anything about my visit to the dentist because one was an Australian and the other was Austrian, neither spoke Italian and therefore didn’t write anything down about me. We communicated through gestures and they didn’t even want to see my medical documents.

The racer didn’t want to reveal the identity of the dentist for privacy reasons and also it’s not clear whether he has been contacted for the intention of obtaining an official statement that would explain the situation. More decisive in the matter is Claudio Corti: “At the immediate moment we are trying to obtain his document that shows the dental work done on Simoni. Probably Friday Gilberto will not continue. It will depend much on how the situation is. His is a grave misfortune of ignorance, also because cocaine is not a performance enhancing drug. One thing must be clear: we don’t want to race the Giro, hopefully win it, then be sanctioned after. If the result is negative, we will retire the entire team”. Another problem is this: if the non-negative came before the Giro, why would the official inquest wait until the Giro d’Italia to release it?

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