Bardiani-CSF rider Nicola Ruffoni, who was prevented from starting on eve of the 100th Giro d’Italia after testing positive for human growth hormone, has blamed the positive test on prostate infection.

Ruffoni and his teammate Stefano Pirazzi tested positive for growth hormones GH-Releasing Peptides (GHRPs) on April 25 and 26, respectively. The results went public 12 hours before the Giro set off from Alghero.

Ruffoni wrote on his Facebook page that he is trying to give a logical explanation of what happened to him by reliving what he did in the last month before the test. The provisionally-suspended rider also commented that the thing that might have been associated with the presence of growth hormone in his urine could be a strong prostate infection he suffered in the period from March 20 to April 20, and that forced him to stop riding and to take antibiotics. Ruffoni added he will therefore turn to an expert endocrinologist for information on this.

The cyclist also said that he is very much aware that his cycling career is at risk but he is equally aware that he had not tried to cheat. Ruffoni added he will therefore calmly wait the counter-analysis and try to defend his credibility to the fullest.

Race’s director, Mauro Vegni, said the damage is done already after hearing about news of the positive tests. Vegni added he is sorry for the Giro, for Italian cycling, and that team represented Italian cycling and added it shows that you have to keep your attention high for doping, because unfortunately, there is always an idiot. Vegni added it happened, it is sad, but the Giro has so much more to it.

The B samples of Ruffoni and Pirazzi are being analyzed to confirm the results of the initial tests. A disciplinary hearing will be opened by the world governing body of cycling, the UCI, where the riders could present their cases.

In a statement, the team sponsors said the news of non-negativity to the doping test of two GreenTeam athletes, on the eve of the 100th edition of the Giro d’Italia has struck us and leaves us bewildered. The statement also reads we cannot do nothing, but only dissociate from what happened. The sponsor’s statement also reads that we have chosen to sponsor a young team, launching many of them and focusing on values such as daily work and struggle. The statement added we affirm our choice and want to push even more on it and also said in fact two bad apples can be removed and replaced by four healthy apples.

Bruno Reverberi, manager of Bardiani-CSF, has tried to distance himself and his Italian team as he fights to keep the all-Italian outfit alive. Reverberi said he found out about the positives at 6pm and called race director Mauro Vegni. Bruno added the UCI decided to put out their press release in the evening so as to not spoil the party atmosphere of the team presentation.

Bardiani-CSF now face a suspension of 15-45 days under article 7.12.1 of the UCI Anti-Doping Rules, subject to the decision of the UCI Disciplinary Commission.

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