Giro d'Italia and teams refuse Di Luca
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Sunday, October 31, 2010

Giro d'Italia and teams refuse Di Luca

by Samuel Morrison at 12:11 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Giro d'Italia, Doping
Di Luca's doping past creates problems for him and his potential team

Italian Danilo Di Luca is free to return following doping suspension, but ignored by teams who want to race the Giro d'Italia.

"He punched the Giro d'Italia in the stomach in 2007 and almost did it again in 2009," Giro d'Italia race director, Angelo Zomegnan told Gazzetta TV. "I think, above all, he has to change has attitude towards the Giro d'Italia, then we will decide [if he can participate]."

The Italian anti-doping tribunal (TNA) reduced Di Luca's two-year suspension by nine months and seven days two weeks ago, which allows him to race immediately. His problem, though, is that team's are unwilling to sign him because he is persona non grata at the Giro d'Italia. Any team with Di Luca in its roster will likely fail to receive an invitation from Zomegnan.

Zomegnan saw Di Luca wreck his race twice.

On his way to winning the 2007 edition, he gave a urine same in an anti-doping test that had the hormone levels of a small child, dubbed "pipi degli angeli" in Italy. The Italian Olympic Committee (CONI) investigated the case, which forced Di Luca to miss the 2007 Worlds. The prosecutor said the abnormal reading was due to an intravenous drip, but escaped punishment and with his Giro d'Italia win because there was "not a sufficient degree of probability" in the test results.

Di Luca nearly won the Giro d'Italia again last year in Rome. He finished 41 seconds behind Russian Denis Menchov and won two of the race's hardest mountain stages. However, two months after the race, on July 22, the International Cycling Union (UCI) announced some bad news. Di Luca failed two doping tests for blood booster EPO-CERA and subsequently received a two-year suspension.

Earlier this month, the TNA reduced Di Luca's suspension after he collaborated in its other investigations. The same presiding judge, Francesco Plotino, who ruled Di Luca's 2007 urine readings were inconclusive also cut his 2009 ban by nearly half.

"I am happy because I can finally return," Di Luca told La Gazzetta dello Sport. "I want to say to the children that you don't have to dope to win. Who is born a champion remains a champion."

Zomegnan and some teams may fear that some dopers remain dopers. Team ISD was reportedly interested in Di Luca because he comes from the same Abruzzo region as its secondary sponsor, Farnese wines.

"There is no interest from our team for Danilo Di Luca," said ISD team manager, Angelo Citracca. "We have never had any contact with him."

Mauro Gianetti's Geox team is also said to be interested in Di Luca, but there has been no announcement from the team. His budget is already limited from signing former Tour de France winner, Carlos Sastre and last year's Giro winner, Menchov.



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