Italy’s anti-doping authorities have hit Danilo di Luca with a two-year ban and fined the cyclist €280,000 as a result of his testing positive for CERA following two stages of last year’s Giro d’Italia.
Di Luca, who spent eight days last May in the race leader’s maglia rosa, which he had won in 2007, finished second in the race, 41 seconds behind Rabobank’s Denis Menchov, but details of his positive result were revealed in July, causing him to be provisionally suspended by the UCI.
The suspension could result in the final standings of the race being revised, which would see Liquigas rider Franco Pellizotti move up to second overall with Cervélo TestTeam’s Carlos Sastre moving up to third.
It’s not the first time that the rider, who last season raced for the LPR Brakes-Ballan team which has subsequently folded, has been suspended as a result of doping allegations.
In 2007, when he was riding for Liquigas-Bianchi, Di Luca was suspended for three months due to his links to Dr Carlos Santuccione, who that year received a lifetime ban from CONI for supplying performance-enhancing drugs to athletes. Santuccione was later named by Riccardo Riccò, who himself is due to return to the sport shortly following a 20-month ban for doping, as having supplied him with EPO.
During the same year, CONI, the Italian Olympic committee, questioned anomalies in his hormone levels at the time of his Giro d’Italia victory, suggesting that those could have been caused by the presence of masking agents, although that case was never proved.
Di Luca, who is also required to pay the costs associated with the testing of his samples, has announced that he intends to appeal his ban, which is due to continue to July 2011, to the Court of Arbitration for Sport.
Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.