Ex-mountain bike champ Missy Giove admits drugs offence

Retired downhiller faces up to 40 years in jail

Former world champion downhiller Melissa ‘Missy’ Giove faces up to 40 years in jail after admitting her part in a drugs ring.

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The 37-year-old this week pleaded guilty to a count of conspiracy to possess drugs with the intent to distribute.

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The US District Court in Albany, New York heard she helped deliver 350lb of marijuana from California to the area last summer.

Court papers revealed she had also co-ordinated other drug sales dating to 2006, TimesUnion.com reported.

Giove, of Chesapeake, Virginia, has been released on bail pending sentencing on 25 March 2010. She faces up to 40 years in jail and a fine of up to US$2 million.

The drugs ring was uncovered in June after state troopers in Moline, Illinois stopped one of the couriers, who was transporting marijuana in a trailer lined with dry ice. The court heard Giove was to be paid $30,000 plus travel expenses for her role.

Giove was one of downhill mountain biking’s first female stars, and won a record 14 NORBA downhill comps, two World Cup overall wins and took the World Championship title in 1994. Famous for wearing her dead pet piranha fish Gonzo on a necklace while racing, she retired from competition in 2003.