`Sick' cyclist was on drugs


Drugs and not gastroenteritis left a Swiss cyclist seriously ill during this year's Tour of Romandy, a French newspaper reported yesterday.

Mauro Gianetti, riding for La Francaise des Jeux, was rushed to hospital in Lausanne on May 8th, where he was detained for 12 days, three spent in a coma. The official reason for the 34-year-old's illness was given by his team as gastroenteritis, but according to Le Monde the real cause was the use of the experimental drug, perfluorocarbon (PFC).

Australian Neil Stephens, under threat following the Festina drugs scandal, has retired after a 14-year racing career. Stephens was a member of the Festina squad expelled from the Tour de France after an alleged confession by their team manager Bruno Roussel that his riders had used banned substances.

The International Cycling Union (UCI) is devoting 4.3 million Swiss francs ($3.26 million) to its fight against doping next year. The newly-formed Council for the Fight Against Doping (CFAD) will have a budget of two million Swiss francs, an increase of 30 per cent on last year's spending to counter drugs in cycling.

Uta Pippig, a German runner who won the Boston marathon three times and once jogged with Bill Clinton, has been suspended by the German Athletics Association (DLV) after failing a dope test.

Theo Rous, DLV vice-president, said Pippig has been suspended based on the results of a routine test in April that showed unnatural levels of the male hormones testosterone and epitestosterone.