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Thursday 20, Feb 2014

  Cycling Community Rallies Against Luca’s Drug Claims

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Cycling community rallies against luca’s drug claims

Danilo Di Luca’s comment that doping remains rife in Giro d’Italia, one of cycling’s most famous races, has provoked furious attacks from members of cycling communities.

Chiara Passerini, the wife of Australia’s Tour de France champion Cadel Evans, termed Luca a clown. Andrew Talansky, the American pro and top-10 finisher in 2013 Tour de France, said he feel genuine hatred towards Danilo Di Luca and added Luca is a worthless lying scumbag making false statements that hurt the sport he loves.

Danilo Di Luca, a former Italian professional road racing cyclist who rode for Neri Sottoli-Yellow Fluo recently, had claimed that 90 percent of the 200 riders competing in the Giro d’Italia dope. He further claimed that the remaining 10 percent don’t care about the race and they are preparing for other races. Luca also remarked it is impossible to finish in the top 10 in the Giro d’Italia and not dope. Luca said the best thing would be to legalize drugs so the entire peloton is on a level playing field. The cyclist added he first learned about doping as an amateur.

Meanwhile, Italian anti-doping authorities are questioning Di Luca in the wake of his sweeping claims.

The Italian cyclist was given a life ban by the Italian Olympic Committee (CONI) after he delivered a positive test for the banned blood booster erythropoietin (EPO) in an out of competition test on 29th April 2013, which forced him to quit the Giro d’Italia. Luca was fined 35,000 euros, banned for life, and his results since mid-April 2013 were erased from the record books. A CONI statement had revealed that the national anti-doping tribunal has imposed a lifetime ban on Danilo Di Luca for his violation of Articles 2.1 and 2.2 of the World Anti-Doping Agency code. It added that this ban takes effect from May 24, 2013, and annuls any competitive results that Luca achieved after taking a biological test on April 29.

The 37-year-old cyclist won the Giro d’Italia in 2007 and finished second overall in 2009. Luca received a suspension in 2007 for his involvement with the Italian doping doctor Carlo Santuccione and tested positive in 2009 for using the blood-booster CERA during that year’s Giro. The rider delivered a positive urine sample during his 2007 Giro victory that reportedly recorded the hormone levels of a small child, a sign of using masking agents. Luca was however cleared for the offense after it was admitted by CONI anti-doping officials that there was not a sufficient degree of probability for a doping conviction.

Luca started his professional career in 1998 and demonstrated his talent to the world by conquering the under-23 version of the Giro D’Italia. In 2005, the cyclist switched to Liquigas-Bianchi to join the ranks of Dario Cioni, Mario Cipollini, Stefano Garzelli, and Magnus Bäckstedt. Luca won the Amstel Gold Race and La Flèche Wallonne and took the ProTour leader’s white jersey. Di Luca became 2005 UCI ProTour champion after his success in the 2005 Giro d’Italia where he won two stages and finished fourth. He finished fourth in the 2005 Züri-Metzgete and fifth in the Tour de Pologne.

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Wednesday 12, Jun 2013

  Giro D’italia Cyclist Fails Test

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Giro D’italia Cyclist Fails Test

Italian cyclist Danilo Di Luca is facing a lifetime ban from the sport after testing positive for Erythropoietin (EPO), which improves endurance by increasing red blood cell production and oxygen transportation. The 37-year-old and the 2007 Giro d’Italia winner Di Luca, who was racing in this year’s Giro d’Italia, has been sacked by his Vini Fantini-Selle team after failing an out-of-competition test.

The failed test was announced by Giro race organizers on their official website saying it was carried out at Di Luca’s home on 29 April, five days before the start of this year’s race. Di Luca could face a lifetime ban as this is his third offence if the result is confirmed in a ‘B’ sample.

The cyclist has already served a ban for testing positive for the blood-boosting drug CERA at the Giro in 2009. At that time, the International Cycling Union remarked the decision to ban Di Luca was made in response to a report to blood samples collected during the Giro on 20 and 28 May 2009. The cyclist was on the verge of a two-year ban from CONI for having abnormal hormone levels during the 2007 Giro but was found not guilty after much legal wrangling because of insufficient evidence.

Reacting to his latest positive doping test, Vini Fantini team director Luca Scinto said Di Luca is an idiot and he never wanted him. Fantini said Luca is sick and needs help. Scinto, in a statement from the Vini Fantini team, said Danilo Di Luca was not part of our group, was not wanted by the team and was inserted into our set-up by our main sponsor Valentino Sciotti, who out of friendship and regional ties to the rider, insisted upon and created the conditions for his addition to the roster. He added that the team following the news, which was received with disappointment, fired the rider on the spot and told him to leave the race by his own means.

It was also revealed in the statement that Vini Fantini-Selle Italia at this point will also open civil proceedings to claim damages from the rider, in accordance with the internal rules that all members of the team signed up to. Scinto added he is knocked out and never wanted Di Luca in the team and didn’t hide it, despite being criticized for his opinion. He went on to add that we made a mistake by accepting the repeated request from our main sponsor to have faith in a rider they are close friends with and unfortunately this faith has been repaid with an incredible error.

Valentino Sciotti, Vini Fantini’s main sponsor, admitted that Di Luca’s place in the team was an error on his part. Sciotti declared he believed in the man and in the athlete and it is right that it should be me who takes the blame because he made a mistake and must ask forgiveness from the fans, the team, the other sponsors, my partners and all the other cyclists who are racing in the Giro d’ Italia fairly and honestly, and all those young athletes who will be shaken by this news.

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Sunday 09, Jun 2013

  Puerto Judge’s Ruling Condemned By Cyclists

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>Puerto Judge’s Ruling Condemned By Cyclists

The decision of the court in the infamous Operation Puerto trial has been criticized by cyclists and team directors at the Giro d’Italia. The Judge Julia Santamaria ordered, to the surprise of the World Anti-Doping Agency and many others, destruction of the blood bags seized in the Operation Puerto doping case.

This destruction of evidence pertains to more than 200 bags of blood and other evidence gathered in police raids involving Spanish doctor Eufemiano Fuentes in 2006. It was despite the doctor testifying that he had clients from other sports, including soccer, tennis, boxing, and track. In the trial, more than 50 cyclists were implicated in the Puerto case and several were identified by name as having worked with the tainted doctor.

Most riders and team directors expressed disappointment with the ruling and said the ruling undermines the efforts to catch sport cheats and uncover the extent of one of the biggest drug scandals in European sports. Taylor Phinney, an American rider with the BMC squad who won the time trial that opened last year’s Giro, remarked he does not agree with the decision to destroy all the evidence and it doesn’t quite make sense to me.

British rider David Millar who returned from a doping ban to become an outspoken critic of banned drugs is hopeful that the ruling gets overturned on appeal. Anti-doping organizations have until May 17 to make an appeal. Millar said before the opening stage of the Giro that he knows the Spanish anti-doping agency are firmly against (destroying the evidence) and he knows WADA (the World Anti-Doping Agency) are firmly against that. Stefano Zanatta, the team director for Ivan Basso’s Cannondale squad, remarked unfortunately institutions often don’t handle things the same way in every country.

Fuentes was found guilty of endangering public health by the Madrid court and the doctor was handed a suspended jail sentence of one year and was barred from medical practice in sports for four years and ordered to pay a $6,000 fine. The judge cited privacy laws of Spain in her decision not to turn over the evidence to anti-doping authorities. This ruling, unless overturned on an appeal, would not allow officials from identifying the doctor’s blood-doping clients and pursuing disciplinary cases against them.

In other developments, Britain’s tennis star Andy Murray says the decision of the Spanish court to allow for the destruction of more than 200 blood bags in the Operation Puerto doping case is one big cover-up. Tennis star Rafael Nadal also expressed his disappointment with the decision and said the decision casts a dark cloud over Spanish athletes in particular and remarked the only ones who have benefited from this resolution are those who have cheated and it seems unfair that in a case as serious and as damaging to sport as this we’re talking about Spain. Nadal added to not give names looks like a big mistake to me and those who cheated deserve the contempt from all other athletes, who should make them feel ashamed before society. After the decision, Ana Munoz, the head of Spain’s anti-doping agency, announced that she would appeal the decision to destroy the evidence.

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Friday 28, Sep 2012

  Franco Pellizotti Wins Italian Road Championships

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Franco Pellizotti Wins Italian Road Championships

@Franco Pellizotti, the Italian cyclist, suspended for two years by the Court of Arbitration for Sport after it upheld an appeal by the UCI and who signed with Androni Giocattoli-Venezuela team, has won the recently concluded Italian road championships.

The cyclist was suspended under the Biological Passport System of the UCI that monitors parameters in the blood profiles of cyclists for identifying the signs of doping and manipulation. The cyclist’s ban was backdated to May 3rd 2010, when he was first removed from competition, meaning that his suspension lasted until May 2nd 2012. After his two-year ban was completed, the cyclist signed with the Androni Giocattoli-Venezuela team.

Franco Pellizotti was provisionally suspended by his Liquigas-Doimo team after the UCI made an announcement that it had detected abnormal values in the profile of Pellizotti’s blood passport. Thereafter, the Italian Olympic Committee’s Anti-doping prosecutor recommended a two-year suspension for Franco Pellizotti for violation of the WADA Anti-doping code. The CAS Panel noted the violation by the cyclist of the anti-doping rules that prohibited the enhancement of oxygen transfer and imposed a ban of two years and asked the cyclist to pay an amount of €115’000 to the UCI as financial sanction.

When the CAS announced its decision, Franco Pellizotti and his team of specialists and lawyers insisted that there is nothing irregular with blood values of the cyclist and claimed that the variations detected by the UCI may have been caused by dehydration. His lawyer Rocco Taminelli and the Liquigas-Doimo team doctor, Roberto Corsetti questioned how experts from the UCI came to the conclusion that Pellizotti should face disciplinary proceeding for breaking anti-doping rules. Both claimed that only two of the 22 values included in the biological passport of the cyclist caused concern and only three of the nine UCI medical experts had considered the values unusual. It was also remarked that the two irregular hemoglobin and reticulocytes values tests were done in November 2008 that was a month after the cyclist ended his season, and then on July 2 last year, just before the start of the Tour de France.

The Italian professional road bicycle racer, currently riding for the Androni Giocattoli-Venezuela team, is best known as a climbing specialist and won Stage 10 in the 2006 Giro d’Italia, Stage 16 in the 2008 Giro d’Italia, and Stage 17 in the 2009 Giro d’Italia.

During the 2009 Tour de France, Pellizotti won the polka dot jersey in Paris as the best climber and was named the Most Combative (Aggressive) Rider on Stages 9 and 17. His name was released by La Gazzetta dello Sport on May 3, 2010 as one of several riders under investigation by the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) for “irregular blood values”. After the same was confirmed by the UCI, he was immediately pulled from the squad and replaced with Vincenzo Nibali. The cyclist’s case reached the Court of Arbitration for Sport in March 2011 where he was suspended for two years and all his results from May 17, 2009 were annulled by the CAS that also meant the cyclist lost a stage win and third place overall in the Giro d’Italia and a stage win and overall victory in the mountains and combativity classifications in the Tour de France.

pdf_iconDownload in PDF: Franco Pellizotti Wins Italian Road Championships