2007 Giro winner Danilo Di Luca is provisionally suspended, and out of this year's race, after the WADA-accredited lab in Cologne returned a positive result for EPO from a sample collected in an out-of-competition test on 29 April 2013.
Di Luca isn't a stranger to doping controversy; He twice tested positive for CERA during the 2009 Giro, and as a result was suspended for two years, returning to competition in October 2010 after the ban was reduced to nine months. His Giro win in 2007 was also controversial after he gave an irregular sample after stage 17 to Monte Zoncolan which suggested an illegal blood transfusion, although he was later cleared due to insufficient evidence.
Vini Fantini have been quick to distance themselves from Di Luca. The team has ended his contract with immediate effect, and told the rider to make his own way home. "Danilo Di Luca was part of the team mainly due to his friendship with (team sponsor) Valentino Sciotti", said team manager Angelo Citracca. "He has repaid the trust of a friend with yet another mistake. The consequences will affect the whole of a team which has been working for years to discover and train young riders."
Here's the UCI release in full:
This morning the UCI advised Italian rider Danilo Di Luca 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 Köln indicating an Adverse Analytical Finding of EPO in a urine sample collected from him in an out of competition test on 29 April 2013.
The provisional suspension of Mr. Danilo Di Luca 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. Danilo Di Luca 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.
Dave is a founding father of road.cc, having previously worked on Cycling Plus and What Mountain Bike magazines back in the day. He also writes about e-bikes for our sister publication ebiketips. He's won three mountain bike bog snorkelling World Championships, and races at the back of the third cats.