Frigo and wife implicated in serious doping situation

By Tim Maloney, European Editor

Dario Frigo of the Fassa Bortolo pro cycling team was sitting in 52nd place on GC in the Tour de France, but didn't take the start on Stage 11 in Courchevel Wednesday, as he was taken from the Hotel Mercure Wednesday morning around 8am by the Gendarmes of Chambery. Frigo's wife Susanna was stopped Tuesday afternoon in a supposedly routine road patrol on her way to Courchevel to meet her husband. French customs agents searched Susanna Frigo's vehicle on the A43 autoroute near Chambery and allegedly found ten ampoules of doping products, allegedly EPO and HGH hidden in a thermos bottle packed with ice stored in the trunk.

Dario and Susanna Frigo were interrogated in the gendarmerie of Chambery, then transported to Albertville where the Fasso Bortolo rider and his wife appeared before a judge. In the court appearance, the French prosecutor Henri-Michel Perret charged the couple with the "importation and trafficking of prohibited substances, a crime that has the maximum penalty of three years in jail. French authorities didn't request detention for the Frigos, but released them under judicial control. However, it's still uncertain whether the court will allow the couple to return to their home near Biella, Italy until formal charges are filed.

Frigo has been implicated in doping before, as four years ago, the icy blonde rider was implicated in the Giro d'Italia San Remo doping blitz, where he was fired and then rehired by Fassa Bortolo. In a bizarre interview with RAI Sport TV, Fassa Bortolo team manager Giancarlo Ferretti attacked Frigo, saying "Frigo is garbage...our team policy is to put the rider out, to fire the rider, so that's that for his. We had this happen once with Frigo and we gave him a second chance. But with his face of an angel and his disingenuous way, we were fooled. Yes, it was his wife who was caught, but he was behind it. I think we should change the (ProTour) rules so that riders have to pay damages to the team when this type of thing happens (to their team)."

Luckily for Ferretti, according to an official TDF communique', the Tour de France direction acknowledges that the Fassa Bortolo team isn't involved in the Frigo family doping affair and the team can stay in the race, despite the doping situation.

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