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Former pro cyclist tests positive for EPO after Gran Fondo wins

The Italian press described a rider "reborn with determination from his ashes [...] returning stronger than before", something anti-doping authorities now believe they probably have an explanation for...

A former professional cyclist has been provisionally suspended after testing positive for EPO having achieved several emphatic victories at Italian Gran Fondos.

Nicola Genovese rode at UCI Continental level during his career, competing at races in 2016 and 2017 alongside more illustious names such as Tom Boonen, Dani Martínez and Davide Rebellin. However, while Martínez was this weekend sealing a second-place finish at the Giro d'Italia, 30-year-old Genovese was subject to an anti-doping investigation after a positive test for EPO following several notable Gran Fondo performances.

Genovese won an event on 14 April, Canadian Cycling Magazine reports, NADO Italia anti-doping since releasing a statement noting that he has been "provisionally suspended" after Recombinant Erythropoyenin was detected in a test. He had been part of a three-man break, besting his escape companions to win the 132km event, and has since won Granfondo Giro dell'Etna, GF Città di Ragusa and GF dei Nebrodi.

> Italian amateur accused of motor doping after winning iconic Gran Fondo

Such was the performance, Italian website TuttobiciWeb reported the victory in glowing terms, stating that it had been "spectacular" and evidence "Nicola Genovese is reborn with determination from his ashes and does so by returning stronger than before".

The bubble burst last week as anti-doping authorities alleged they had found the reason for an especially strong return, an official statement saying:

The National Anti-Doping Tribunal, accepting the instance proposed by the National Anti-Doping Prosecutor's Office, has provisionally suspended the athlete Nicola Genovese (CNS Libertas member) for the violation of articles 2.1 e 2.2 (substance detected: recombinant erythropoyenin). The test was carried out by NADO Italia

In 2017, a 55-year-old amateur cyclist from Burnley was handed a two-year doping ban after testing positive for banned substances that he said were contained in medication given to him by a friend before a race to treat his mouth ulcers.

Michael Ellerton tested positive for the glucocorticoids prednisone and prednisolone following an in-competition test at the Port Talbot Wheelers Cycling Club's 25 Mile Time Trial on 11 September 2016, organised under Cycling Time Trials (CTT) rules.

A year earlier, a Nottingham man who claimed he has never raced a bike competitively was banned from all sport for four years after the UK Border Force intercepted nandrolone and testosterone that he had ordered online from India.

Ian Edmonds claimed steroids ordered online were for personal use and said he was unaware that as British Cycling member he was subject to anti-doping rules.

Last week, we reported the surreal story that a former cycling film actor, who counts Mark Cavendish among his Instagram followers, had been accused of motor doping at a French stage race, before dramatically fleeing as his teammate in their van knocked down a race director.

The race director, Frédéric Lenormand, told local press: "As early as Saturday, there were suspicions of mechanical doping concerning this rider, which were brought to our attention by riders in the peloton.

Giovambattista Iera and Routes de l'Oise (original image credits Giovambattista Iera on Instagram and Routes de l'Oise

"Suspicions were confirmed on Sunday. This Monday morning [the final day of racing], we wanted to check his bike. He was at the back of the pack. He got back on his bike and fled, we chased after him. By the time we got to him he had loaded the bike into his van."

One of Iera's teammates is accused of then having driven with Lenormand on the bonnet of his van for up to 300 metres, leaving the shocked race director "scared for [his] life" and with an injured knee and ankle, before the teammate (who is also believed to be Iera's coach) eventually shook him off the van and drove away.

It's reported that Iera was sought by local police, and members of his team were questioned this week over what happened. Eventually Iera handed himself in on Tuesday, facing charges of attempted fraud and aggravated assault.

According to local police, Iera has since been exonerated in relation to the incident involving Lenormand. His teammate, however, has been charged with aggravated wilful violence against the race director, and will appear in court in January 2025. Another normal day in the world of bike racing...

Dan is the news editor and has spent the past four years writing stories and features, as well as (hopefully) keeping you entertained on the live blog. Having previously written about nearly every other sport under the sun for the Express, and the weird and wonderful world of non-league football for the Non-League Paper, Dan joined in 2020. Come the weekend you'll find him labouring up a hill, probably with a mouth full of jelly babies, or making a bonk-induced trip to a south of England petrol station... in search of more jelly babies.

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leedorney | 3 weeks ago

That's as bad as doping for a chainy

brooksby replied to leedorney | 3 weeks ago
1 like

leedorney wrote:

That's as bad as doping for a chainy

Sorry, my google translate still can't put that sentence into English… 

lesterama replied to leedorney | 3 weeks ago

Inspires me to dope for Strava segments

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