Di Luca faces hearing over EPO positive in one week’s time
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Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Di Luca faces hearing over EPO positive in one week’s time

by Shane Stokes at 10:13 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Doping
Lengthy ban likely for 37 year old rider, who previously served two bans

Danilo di LucaIt’s taken three months but Danilo di Luca’s case is finally moving forward.

The three-time doping offender has a hearing in front of the Italian Olympic Committee next week, with the CONI anti-doping prosecutor due to hear him next Wednesday, September 4th.

The 37 year old must appear at 11 am to answer questions about his positive test for EPO, which was collected in an out of competition test on April 29th.

The sample was taken three days after he signed for the Vini Fantini-Selle Italia team, and on the same day that it was announced that he would ride the Giro d’Italia one final time.

Di Luca’s sample was sent to the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) accredited laboratory in Köln (Cologne), Germany, which is believed to be capable of more precise testing than many other labs.

Di Luca is one of Italy’s most controversial riders, incurring a three month ban in 2007 due to the part he played in the ‘Oil for Drugs’ doping affair. He had won the Giro d’Italia earlier the same year and was said to have had the hormone levels of a small child, a test result which was believed to point to the likely use of masking agents.

In July of 2009 it was announced that he had tested positive for the EPO-like substance CERA twice during that year’s Giro d’Italia. As a result he was handed a two year ban, although this was later reduced to nine months and seven days due to reported cooperation with investigators.

Di Luca’s results were more modest after his return and he was left without a team for 2013 after his Acqua e Sapone squad ceased to exist. However he was offered a lifeline by the Vini Fantini-Selle Italia and signed for the squad on April 26th, saying he wanted to ride the Giro one last time.

Although he hadn’t competed since the previous competition, he was quickly up to a solid level, netting tenth in the GP Industria & Artigianato Larciano and placing sixth in the Giro della Toscana prior to the start of the Giro d’Italia.

Di Luca tried what he could to win a stage in the Giro, and while he was unable to achieve that goal, he was one of the most aggressive riders on several different days. He was third on the rainy day into Pescara on stage seven, and was sitting 26th overall in the general classification when the news emerged that he had tested positive.

That race may well end up being his last competitive event, with a lengthy ban from the sport now looming over the disgraced veteran.


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