Di Luca tests positive for EPO

2013-05-24 11:30
Danilo Di Luca (AFP)

Ponte di Legno - Italian cyclist Danilo Di Luca, currently competing at the 96th Giro d'Italia, has been "provisionally suspended" after testing positive for EPO in an out-of-competition test before the race.

Di Luca, who has already served a ban for failing a doping test at the Giro and has been embroiled in other doping affairs, tested positive for the banned blood booster at the end of April.

Cycling's world governing body, the UCI, said it had "provisionally suspended" the rider, who risks a heavy sanction if found guilty.

"The decision to provisionally suspend this rider was made in response to a report from the WADA accredited laboratory in Cologne indicating an Adverse Analytical Finding of EPO in a urine sample collected from him in an out of competition test on April 29, 2013," the UCI said.

"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."

Di Luca was without a contract at the start of the season but managed to sign for the second division team Vini Fantini, who were assured a place in the three-week race.

Team boss Angelo Citracca indicated upon hearing the news the team would sack the rider if a 'B' sample confirms the first result.

"This result reflects upon the whole team," said Citracca.

Despite having only two days of racing in his legs, the 37-year-old Di Luca was called into the team in time for the May 4 start in Naples. Although he has failed to win a stage or challenge for overall honours, Di Luca has often been seen on the attack.

Di Luca finished 10th in Thursday's uphill time trial behind stage winner and overall race leader Vincenzo Nibali, who now has a 4:02 over his closest rival, Australian Cadel Evans, with two stages to race. The Italian sits in 26th place overall at just over 33min behind Nibali.

A former race winner, in 2007, Di Luca has a doping past. He returned two positive doping tests from samples taken during the 2009 edition of the race, which he finished as runner-up behind Russian Denis Menchov.

Di Luca denied doping at that time but finally confessed and earned a more lenient sanction. Instead of a two-year ban, he was suspended for 15 months.

Di Luca also returned abnormal results from test samples at the 2007 edition of the race, which he won.

It prompted a prosecutor to demand a two-year ban, but the cyclist was cleared at the 11th hour by the Italian Olympic Committee (CONI) due to a lack of evidence.

Disgraced American Lance Armstrong, who was stripped of his seven Tour de France crowns among other victories due to doping, reacted to the news via a message on his Twitter feed.

The American said: "Knowing I have 0 cred on the doping issue - I still can't help but think, 'really Di Luca? Are you that fucking stupid??'."

Friday's 19th stage, the first of two consecutive days in the mountains, was cancelled by organisers because of heavy snow and sub-zero temperatures on a revised route.

Changes were also made to Saturday's 20th stage, the last in the mountains, due to the conditions.

Read more on:    giro d'italia  |  cycling

What To Read Next


Read News24’s Comments Policy publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.
Live Video Streaming
Video Highlights
Sport Talk

Live scoring

Love 2 Meet
English Premiership flutter

Take Sport24's "expert" tips at your peril...

Sport24 on Twitter

Follow Sport24 news on Twitter


The 2017/18 Absa Premiership season is under way. Can Bidvest Wits defend their title? Will Soweto giants Kaizer Chiefs or Orlando Pirates emerge victorious? Or will the bookies' favourites, Mamelodi Sundowns, taste success for a record eighth time? Stay glued to Sport24 to find out!

Latest blogs

Besides the 'Big 3' of rugby, cricket and soccer, which of the 'smaller' sports in South Africa do you enjoy the most?

Twitter Follow Sport24 on Twitter

Facebook "Like" Sport24's Facebook page

WIN Enter and win with Sport24!

BlackBerry Stay in the loop on your BlackBerry

RSS Feeds Sport news delivered really simply.

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.