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Another black day for cycling despite the white-out at the Giro

Former winner Danilo Di Luca has been withdrawn from this year’s race after a positive drugs test.

Danilo Di Luca, a former winner of the Giro, has been kicked off this year's race.
Danilo Di Luca, a former winner of the Giro, has been kicked off this year's race.
Image: Omnisport

FORMER GIRO D’ITALIA winner Danilo Di Luca has been provisionally suspended from cycling after testing positive for EPO, it was announced on Friday.

The out-of-competition test was undertaken on 29 April, less than a week before the current race.

If the result is confirmed by a B sample, he faces the possibility of a lifetime ban following what would be his third offence.

The Italian - who joined the Vini Fantini-Selle Italia team following the folding of Acqua & Sapone at the end of 2012 - had previously been suspended for two years after testing positive for CERA at the 2009 Giro d’Italia.

That ban was subsequently reduced after he reportedly provided information on doping methodologies to the Italian Olympic Committee (CONI).

The 37-year-old also served a three-month suspension in 2007, after being implicated for his alleged involvement as part of the ‘Oil for Drugs’ doping investigation surrounding Dr Carlo Santuccione.

The International Cycling Union (UCI) released a statement on Friday confirming his suspension.

“This morning the UCI advised Italian rider Danilo Di Luca that he is provisionally suspended,” the statement read.

“The decision to provisionally suspend this rider was made in response to a report from the WADA accredited laboratory in Koln 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.”

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Di Luca won the Giro d’Italia in 2007, and was ranked 26th in this year’s race, 33 minutes behind leader Vincenzo Nibali.

In response to the news of his failed test, Vini Fantini-Selle Italia announced that they had fired the rider with immediate effect.

A statement on the team’s website from team manager Angelo Citracca confirmed: “Danilo Di Luca was not part of our group, was not wanted by the team and was inserted into our set-up by our main sponsor Valentino Sciotti, who out of friendship and regional ties to the rider, insisted upon and created the conditions for his addition to the roster.

“Following the news, which we received with disappointment this morning, the team fired the rider on the spot and told him to leave the race by his own means.

“At this point, Vini Fantini-Selle Italia will also open civil proceedings to claim damages from the rider, in accordance with the internal rules that all members of the team signed up to.”

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