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Reports emanating from Italy on Friday indicated that Dario Frigo and his wife Susanna have "gone into hiding" with friends on the Cote d'Azur, a short distance from their tax-haven home in the principality of Monaco. Journalists "staked out" Frigos' Monte Carlo property on Thursday in the hope of catching a glimpse of the Fassa Bortolo rider and his spouse, but were left disappointed.
Members of the Frigos' closed circle of friend and family later revealed that the pair had sought refuge in France, in conformance with bail terms which dictate that they must remain on French soil for the duration of the investigation. If convicted of "assisting the use of doping products and contraband", the Frigos risk a maximum sentence of three years and a fine equal to two or three times the market value of the products seized. The couple had stumped up 60,000 euros to secure their release from police custody in Albertville on Thursday morning.
Contrary to reports in the Italian press, it appears highly unlikely that the vials discovered by customs officers in a thermos flask in Susanna Frigo's boot on Monday evening will be analysed on Friday or even in the coming days. Thursday's La Stampa indicated that the vials would be analysed by the pioneering Chatenay-Malabry laboratory in Paris and that the results of the tests would be announced on Friday. That can now be ruled out, as a spokesman for the laboratory told procycling on Friday afternoon that they had received no vials for analysis from the Albertville magistrate dealing with the Frigo investigation.
In light of strong rumours that the products seized from Susanna Frigo were EPO, the Chatenay-Malabry source went on to confirm that theirs is the only laboratory in France qualified to identify the banned hormone. As yet, however, the Paris laboratory stated that it had received neither samples collected within the scope of the Albertville investigation nor any notification that some may arrive in the coming days. The process of identifying suspected doping products for the purposes of judiciary enquiry can take up to a fortnight, as opposed to the 48-hour turnaround time usually stipulated for anti-doping tests, said the source.
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