Mauro Santambrogio provisionally suspended after positive EPO test at Giro

Second Vini Fantini - Selle Italia rider tests positive; Di Luca already kicked off the team

by Dave Atkinson   June 3, 2013  

Mauro Santambrogio wins Giro 2013 stage 14

Mauro Santambrogio has been provisionally suspended after testing positive for EPO during the Giro d'Italia. The Vini Fantini - Selle Italia rider is the second rider from the squad to test positive in recent weeks; Danilo Di Luca was thrown off the tour – and off the team – after an out-of-competition test from before the Giro came back positive when the race was in full swing.

Santambrogio rode consistently well throughout the Giro, winning stage 14 to Bardonecchia; eventual overall winner Vincenzo Nibali came home in second place that day and should Santambrogio's suspension move from being merely provisional the Scicilian will have another Giro stage win to add to his palmares. Santambrogio finished 9th overall. His positive test was from a urine sample taken on 4 May, the first day of the race. The full UCI press release is below.

Whereas the team were quick to distance themselves from the Di Luca result, calling him an 'idiot' and suggesting that his place on the team was secured mainly due to his friendship with the sponsor, the positive from Santambrogio will be much harder to spin. "The peloton knew Vini Fantini weren't trustworthy", David Millar has said of the test on twitter. "[it] was the talking point for the first week of the Giro (until misery & survival took over)". Team director Luca Scinto hasn't held back on twitter either. "You're right. Rip me to shreds. I trusted them. They are crazy and I'm a moron to believe them. They're sick", he said of the news.

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Mauro Santambrogio provisionally suspended

The UCI advised Italian rider Mauro Santambrogio that he is provisionally suspended. The decision to provisionally suspend this rider was made in response to a report from the WADA accredited laboratory in Rome indicating an Adverse Analytical Finding of EPO in his urine sample collected at the Giro d’ Italia on 4 May 2013.

The provisional suspension of Mr. Santambrogio remains in force until a hearing panel convened by the Italian Cycling Federation determines whether he has committed an anti-doping rule violation under Article 21 of the UCI Anti-Doping Rules.

Mr. Santambrogio has the right to request and attend the analysis of his B sample.

Under the World Anti-Doping Code and the UCI Anti-Doping Rules, the UCI is unable to provide any additional information at this time.

35 user comments

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At least it sounds like the peloton is talking about it now...rather than a nudge and a wink of the not-so-old days.

posted by Ad Hynkel [46 posts]
3rd June 2013 - 17:49

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The EPO test is more complicated than standard drugs tests and I think they're all done in Cologne rather than the local labs which for the Giro was Rome.

posted by drheaton [3429 posts]
3rd June 2013 - 17:50

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This is sad news. I really wanted a Vini Fantini jersey......

posted by ajmarshal1 [246 posts]
3rd June 2013 - 18:16

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Is he holding his head in his hands in the pic in disbelief that he got away with it, or was it in anticipation of getting caught Devil

Pastaman

posted by pastaman [208 posts]
3rd June 2013 - 18:27

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scaramanga wrote:
So the question here is; Why, if a sample taken on Day 1 of the Giro, did it take until now to release the result? Why allow him to ride the full race?

This may be down to my ignorance in the intricacies of the testing process but surely there should be a quicker turn around than 4+ weeks?

Because, unlike in CSI or detective films, it's not a case of dropping some urine on a piece of paper, watching it turn red and then nailing the suspect. It's massively involved, the whole process from the moment the athlete is notified is subject to rigourous scrutiny and if any part of that is wrong, you run the risk that a guilty person walks free on a technicality.

They'll be testing for all sorts so there's a whole range of tests that the sample goes through; each time the machines have to be calibrated, double checked, the whole procedure methodically processed then checked...

Once a sample comes back "adverse", it then has to be matched to the rider (cos the tests are blind, the analyst does not know the identity of the rider for fairly obvious reasons) so that involves a different team.

posted by crazy-legs [484 posts]
3rd June 2013 - 19:19

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How many more of the VF team will get caught??

Garzelli a known doper and Chicchi a suspected doper....

Also, it does seem strange that its come out so long afterwards. Sylvain Georges was announced straight away Thinking

Gkam84's picture

posted by Gkam84 [8677 posts]
3rd June 2013 - 19:24

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Very suspect that it's 2 riders from the same team done for the same drug who both won stages. And whats up with santas puffy face. Some other meds come to mind that produce that kind of facial oedema in a VERY skinny individual.

posted by smiley_boy2501 [25 posts]
3rd June 2013 - 19:34

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Also gutted and annoyed for the cycling world.. At least use something undetectable!!

posted by smiley_boy2501 [25 posts]
3rd June 2013 - 19:35

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ajmarshal1 wrote:
This is sad news. I really wanted a Vini Fantini jersey......

Saved you some money and style. You did notice that the kit is fluorescent yellow; I mean who would buy fluro yellow shorts, because you could not just buy the jersey, who only buys the jersey? Close call for you.

Good job for Nibbles but I am glad Cav won the last sprint and the Red Jersey outright, any other nobodies going to drop out and cause havoc in the results tables?

Between the S and the LOW

bikeboy76's picture

posted by bikeboy76 [1182 posts]
3rd June 2013 - 22:00

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Gkam84 wrote:
How many more of the VF team will get caught??

Garzelli a known doper and Chicchi a suspected doper....

Also, it does seem strange that its come out so long afterwards. Sylvain Georges was announced straight away Thinking

This does have the feel of sacrificial lambs. I suspect some politics comes into play. When I look at some of the riders performances against Santambrogio I do wonder how they do not get caught.

posted by Colin Peyresourde [1076 posts]
3rd June 2013 - 23:04

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What a moron.

David Fong
Engineered Bicycles

posted by Roastie [25 posts]
3rd June 2013 - 23:11

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Cant help noticing the visual metaphor in the photo used above.
Doper with hands on head, almost incredulous, with Nibbles coming in behind but he himself looking over his shoulder.
Nerd

posted by Some Fella [715 posts]
3rd June 2013 - 23:25

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Get the EPO makers such as Amgen (sponsor of the tour of California) to put inert fat soluble markers in all manufactured EPO. Fat soluble markers will stay in the body for months.
OK, this is probably a wacky idea, put present testing is not reliable. This guy probably just barely missed the safety window.

Charlie Horse

posted by ch [99 posts]
4th June 2013 - 7:38

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...and where are Vini Fantini based? Oh Italy, now where is the Giro, oh...and to think I was going to rest my arse on a Selle Italia seat. Think I'll try a Fizik saddle instead. Where are the made? Oh, perhaps a Brooks then. It's very sad for the sport selfish B********

Every day and in every way I'm getting slower and slower

posted by Edglass [68 posts]
4th June 2013 - 7:47

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All sports are dirty. That's just the way it is and always will be.... The harder it is the more people will dope.

posted by leedgreen [28 posts]
4th June 2013 - 8:09

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What a surprise, another pro cheating Angry

posted by Son of Crunch [12 posts]
4th June 2013 - 8:44

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Never trust luminous wine is my tip du jour!

posted by Veloacciaio [15 posts]
4th June 2013 - 8:54

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So it's the same old, same old...

Minor team probably desperate for sponsorship money look to add to their roster with big name riders or from bigger teams, who have a dubious past. At best they turn a blind eye and contract them giving them 'another chance'. At worst they are complicit in their doping. Results go well in their 'showcase' grand tour and quelle surprise! they are busted for doping. Cue the owners mock outrage and disgust, distancing their 'project' from these idiots.

Sorry Scinto, I don't believe you. Take your awful team and putrid kit and piss off.

arrieredupeleton

posted by arrieredupeleton [536 posts]
4th June 2013 - 9:13

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Question is, have they (Santa and Di Luca) been caught due to stupid individual actions, or because a team doping program got the dates/dosages wrong?

Wonder if there's any more waiting to come out?

If I could have, say, 6 bikes, would it stop me drooling over others that I don't have?

posted by notfastenough [2929 posts]
4th June 2013 - 9:18

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Stupid, stupid little boy. Looking up to the senior pro? Led astray?

Prat.

EPO, FFS.

Boardman CX Team '14 | Cannondale CAAD8 '12 (written off, SMIDSY) | Scott Sportster '08

Gizmo_'s picture

posted by Gizmo_ [744 posts]
4th June 2013 - 10:34

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FFS, blatent when you saw the suggested watt/kg values he was putting out for the stage win. Vini Fantini are hopefully finished.

posted by MattT53 [126 posts]
4th June 2013 - 11:07

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Check out the news elsewhere on the web:

http://t.co/jWedWt3eOS

Seems the team sidestepped a post-race test for one of it's riders with the excuse of being late for flights, but then found time to have tea with another team prior to boarding the aircraft.

If I could have, say, 6 bikes, would it stop me drooling over others that I don't have?

posted by notfastenough [2929 posts]
4th June 2013 - 11:36

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Since 2008, riders can be suspended not only on the basis of a direct detection of a banned substance (as it is the case here) but also on their blood formula/biomarkers thanks to the biological passport.

I would like to know if his biological passport already showed signs of doping, and if not, how they are able to mask the effect of the drug (which should increase the red cell content).

posted by zeb [45 posts]
4th June 2013 - 14:46

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Have a read of this article. It's pretty comprehensive but kinda long. Michael Ashenden parted company with the UCI after they tried to make him sign a contract which involved a gagging cause basically. He told them to shove it. This is pre Armstrong as well.

ttp://nyvelocity.com/content/interviews/2012/behind-scenes-contador-cas-hearing-michael-ashenden

It's a must for anyone interested in this topic.

Cheers

posted by Nzlucas [88 posts]
4th June 2013 - 16:00

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Given that the Vini Fantini team were only in the Giro on a wildcard entry, I feel sorry for clean riders in any of the other teams that were denied the oportunity of having a proper go.

posted by Topcover [4 posts]
4th June 2013 - 19:27

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I have read up on the EPO test details.

Both urine and blood tests are taken. The urine is the major indicator for the presence of EPO. This takes two and a half days to complete one sample.

Blood is then analyse and compared to the athletes 'biological passport' as further evidence.

As a result it is understandable why the centre in Rome was processing over 200 samples of both blood and urine - and how it can take around 4 weeks.

BenMWilliamson's picture

posted by BenMWilliamson [28 posts]
4th June 2013 - 22:23

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But wasnt Nibbali head and shoulders above the rest, what a brilliant ride. We should be looking at the positive of that, instead of this........

tazo101's picture

posted by tazo101 [9 posts]
4th June 2013 - 22:47

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Who is this Vinny Fantini, some kind of mobster? He sounds well dodgy. What has Joe Pesci been up to lately? Miss you Joe.

Between the S and the LOW

bikeboy76's picture

posted by bikeboy76 [1182 posts]
4th June 2013 - 23:07

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The shocking thing is he must have thought he could get away with it. Which probably means there is a way. Which probably means...

posted by robert_obrien [117 posts]
5th June 2013 - 8:38

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bikeboy76 wrote:
Who is this Vinny Fantini, some kind of mobster? He sounds well dodgy. What has Joe Pesci been up to lately? Miss you Joe.

He's Haysi Fantayzee's godfather.

posted by robert_obrien [117 posts]
5th June 2013 - 14:28

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