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  Thursday, 11 April, 2002, 21:09 GMT 22:09 UK
Pantani quizzed
Marco Pantani
Marco Pantani in action during last year's Giro
Marco Pantani has been questioned by Italian police as part of the long-running probe into the discovery of performance-boosting drugs during last year's Giro d'Italia.

Pantani, Giro winner in 1998, was quizzed for 90 minutes about a syringe containing insulin found in a Tuscan hotel raided by police.

Pantani, a former Tour de France winner, told Italian news agency ANSA: "The syringe they found isn't mine.

"I can't understand how they know that the room where it was found was the room where I stayed.

"For reasons of privacy my teams never gives the names of the riders and the rooms where they sleep.

Lengthy bans

"I'm not worried and I'm getting ready for the next Giro d'Italia (which starts on 11 May)."

Asked if he was concerned about being suspended before the start of the race, Pantani said: "If I don't fall off I'll be at the start."

On Monday, Pantani and several of his team-mates will be questioned in Rome by the Italian Anti-Doping Commission.

On the basis of police investigations, the Commission last week recommended bans on 13 Italian cyclists for periods up to four and a half years.

During last year's raid, 200 police officers searched the rooms of riders from all 20 teams after the 17th stage of the Giro, confiscating illegal substances.

See also:

21 Mar 02 |  Cycling
Vandenbroucke handed ban
19 Mar 02 |  Cycling
Sacchi receives backing
18 Mar 02 |  Cycling
Sacchi hit by drugs find
16 Mar 02 |  Cycling
Frigo comes in from cold
Links to more Cycling stories are at the foot of the page.


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