Police say EPO found in wife's car at border

Updated: July 13, 2005, 5:08 PM ET
ESPN.com news services

ALBERTVILLE, France -- Italian cyclist Dario Frigo was arrested Wednesday in Courchevel after doping products were found in his wife's car at the toll station at Albertville, police said.

Police said Frigo's wife was arrested Tuesday with about 10 doses of the banned endurance-boosting hormone EPO. An Albertville prosecutor questioned the couple Wednesday. The vials have been sent to Luxembourg to be analyzed.

Frigo, of the Fassa Bortolo team, was 52nd in the Tour de France standings after Tuesday's 10th stage.

Tour director Jean-Marie Leblanc confirmed that Frigo's wife was arrested near Chambery with what he called pharmaceutical products. He said tour officials don't know what the products are.

Frigo was arrested Wednesday morning at the team hotel, he said, adding that the police force "is doing its work."

Frigo and his wife have been put under investigation and released on probation for "imports and smuggling of illegal substances", judicial sources said on Wednesday.

The couple could face up to three years in prison and a fine worth twice the value of the banned products, if accused and convicted of importing and holding banned products.

Leblanc said drug cheats need to be expelled.

"If the accusations are confirmed, Frigo would show that he's part of this generation of riders who have understood nothing, who didn't want to listen," Leblanc said.

Fassa Bortolo spokesman Andrea Agostini said Frigo's arrest did not involve the team.

"This affair only concerns Dario Frigo, and not the team," Agostini said.

Frigo was excluded from the Giro D'Italia and banned for nine months in 2001 after drugs were found in his hotel room during a police raid.

The 31-year-old has been with the Fassa Bortolo team since 2003. He won the Paris-Nice in 2001 and the Tour of Romandie in 2001 and 2002.

He was also Italian time trial champion and took the Zurich championship in 2002.

Russia's Evgeni Petrov was kicked out of the Tour de France before the 10th stage after failing a blood test.

He was the first rider barred from this year's race following a blood test.

"We can't imagine that the scourge of cheating is over," said Christian Prudhomme, a Tour director. "If it turns out that people who cheat get kicked out, that's what we want with a big kick in the rear."

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