Mixed messages about Vini Fantini future after Santambrogio and Di Luca positive EPO tests
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Tuesday, June 04, 2013

Mixed messages about Vini Fantini future after Santambrogio and Di Luca positive EPO tests

by Shane Stokes at 4:41 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Giro d'Italia, Doping
 
Scinto says project is over while Citracca pledges it will continue

Mauro SantambrogioFollowing on from yesterday’s news that Mauro Santambrogio had joined his Vini Fanini team-mate Danilo di Luca in testing positive for EPO, the squad is under serious scrutiny. The future of the setup is uncertain, with greater clarity likely to arrive over time.

There were contradictory messages from the team yesterday, with directeur sportif Luca Scinto’s initial reaction to Tuttobiciweb suggesting that the team could cease to exist.

“Everything’s finished, it’s the end of the whole project,” Scinto said. “What can I say, I’m distraught, I’m ruined. I defended him like no other rider before because from [the Giro start in] Naples there were bad rumours about him going around the peloton.

“I didn’t want to believe them and on more than one occasion I had a face-to-face with him. He told me: ‘It’s only jealousy, Luca, you must calm down. You can’t keep asking me these questions because they’re insulting to me.’

“What can I say? We’re distraught, myself and Angelo [Citracca, the team manager], because we know perfectly well it’s a mortal blow.”

He added that the rider was recommended by Max Sciandri, who told them his only issue was that Santambrogio was prone to depression, but that the team could work with him without worrying about anything.

However the team later issued a statement which appeared to backtrack on Scinto’s suggestions that it would stop.

“Upon hearing the news, we proceeded to dismiss the athlete, to be followed by disciplinary proceedings and the claim for damages,” said Citracca. “The event, severe and painful, lays bare another ‘sick’ athlete and part of a cycling now dead and which, as demonstrated by these efficient controls, no longer has any chance of living in modern cycling.

“Despite this episode, the team will continue its operations, even more motivated to protect its young riders… Unfortunately we were wrong to engage Santambrogio, betrayed by the beautiful promises of a very promising past and a first part of career devoted to the life of other leaders. However this can not go to affect a long-running project like ours.”

The team is a Pro Continental squad and thus has to rely on wildcard invites to top level races such as the Giro d’Italia and Il Lombardia. It remains to be seen how race organiser RCS Sport will react but with the Giro being blighted by the positive cases of two Vini Fantini riders, it is conceivable that if it does continue, that the squad will not be given further invites for quite some time.

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