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  Wednesday, 22 May, 2002, 13:10 GMT 14:10 UK
Giro faces another drug scandal
Italian cyclist Gilberto Simoni faces being thrown out of the Giro d'Italia
Simoni has blamed the positive result on a dentist visit
Top Italian cyclist Gilberto Simoni has tested positive for cocaine metabolites.

According to his Saeco team, the Italian, who won the Giro d'Italia last year, has blamed the test result on a trip to the dentist.

"We're sure it's an accident," team manager Claudio Corti told reporters.

"Gilberto has never taken cocaine. He had treatment at the dentist and that is what was found.

"It's clear that we have to produce documentation from the dentist. I hope I can have it as soon as possible."


I'll try to show my innocence
Gilberto Simoni

The out-of-competition test was carried out on 24 April, the day before the start of the Giro del Trentino where Simoni finished third.

Until a second 'B' analysis confirms the first result, a rider is declared "non negative" and he can continue to compete.

Simoni starts Wednesday's 10th stage to Benevento in eighth place.

The 30-year-old denied taking the drug.

"I'm a cyclist. I'm not a cocaine addict. I've never used it," Simoni said.

Stefano Garzelli
Garzelli was thrown out of the Giro after a drugs test

"If I'd wanted to I could have done it secretly, but not before the Giro del Trentino.

"For a rider to be doped is one thing, this is something different. I'll try to show my innocence."

The Saeco team were notified of the test result in a letter from the International Cycling Union (UCI) on Tuesday evening.

The news of Simoni's test comes a day after 2000 Giro winner Stefano Garzelli was thrown out after a banned diuretic was discovered in his urine sample.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
BBC Sport's Matthew Kenyon
"Simoni will take part as normal"
See also:

21 May 02 | Cycling
18 May 02 | Cycling
18 May 02 | Cycling
06 Jun 01 | Other Sports
Links to more Cycling stories are at the foot of the page.


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