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Tuesday, 3 September, 2002, 10:31 GMT 11:31 UK
Cycling in need of a clean tour
Raimondas Rumsas in action in the Tour de France
Rumsas has not feiled any drugs tests
Cycling is crying out for a major tour without a whiff of a drugs scandal.

This year's Giro d'Italia could not have been more tarnished by doping controversy, while a seemingly drugs-free Tour de France was ruined by a post-race scandal.

The authorities stepped up their testing procedures for this year's Tour.

And happily not a single positive result was produced except for Igor Gonzalez de Galdeano.

The ONCE rider, though, was given the all-clear to continue racing as his asthma inhaler had previously been permitted by race officials.

In fact, it was after the Tour hoardings had been packed away and the team cars had moved elsewhere that a fresh scandal emerged.

  Drug diary
13 May: Antonio Varriale arrested
18 May: Stefano Garzelli fails drug test
21 May: Garzelli thrown out of Tour; Gilberto Simoni tests positive for cocaine
24 May: Simoni withdrawn from Giro
28 July: Edita Rumsas arrested at boarder crossing

The furor surrounded Edita Rumsas, the wife of Raimondas, who finished third overall behind Lance Armstrong and Joseba Beloki.

She was caught by customs officers leaving France on 30 July with a large quantity of medicinal and doping substances, including corticoids, testosterone, EPO, growth hormones and anabolic steroids.

She claimed the products were intended for her mother, who is said to be ill and lives with the couple in Italy.

Rumsas has not, however, tested positive from any drugs test before or since his wife's arrest.

Rumsas-gate was the last thing the sport needed following a troublesome Giro d'Italia.

Trouble began brewing on 13 May when Antonio Varriale was arrested after being filmed injecting doping products.

Things spiralled increasingly out of control as Gilberto Simoni and Stefano Garzelli both failed drugs tests.

Simoni, the 2001 Giro winner, tested positive for cocaine, blaming the result on a visit to the dentist.

Garzelli, winner the previous year, failed two tests for the banned substance diuretic probencid.

Tour de Farce

La Vuelta, though, has been the Tour without scandal.

The final of the season's three Grand Tours has not faced a battle with officials along the lines of this year's Giro or the Tour de France back in 1998.

That year the lid was blown on drug taking in professional cycling as a series of police swoops on all 21 teams turned the event into something of a "Tour de Farce".

After the latest setback with Rumsas' wife, a clean tour is the necessary tonic.

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