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"Everything was already written. Of course I had to pay for everything," Di Luca tells Gazzetta dello Sport

Photo: Sirotti

DANILO DI LUCA

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VINI ZABU KTM

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06.12.2013 @ 13:41 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

Yesterday Danilo Di Luca was handed a lifetime ban for his positive test for EPO ahead of this year's Giro d'Italia. The Italian has reacted with disappointment to the verdict, claiming that he is paying the price for misdemeanors of other people.

 

Yesterday Danilo Di Luca saw his professional career come to an abrupt end when the anti-doping authorities under the Italian National Committee CONI handed him a lifetime ban for his positive test for EPO ahead of this year's Giro d'Italia. As a third-time offender, there was no mercy for "The Killer" who needs a miracle to ever put on a number in a professional race again.

 

Di Luca became the first Italian to ever receive a lifetime ban as not even disgraced cyclist Riccardo Ricco has been given the maximum penalty. Di Luca claimed not to be disappointed by the decision and sees him as a victim of a more general problem in cycling.

 

"Everything was already written," he told Gazzetta dello Sport. "Of course I had to pay for everything."

 

Di Luca went as far as suggesting that other riders continue to make performances that are almost superhuman, more than indicating than doping is still a prevalent problem in the peloton.

 

"Those who really know me, know that I have only won races in the sport thanks to my talents. I've never done a time trial at 60km/h," he said, quickly adding that riders were still delivering those kind of performances in races against the clock.

 

Di Luca first served a three-month suspension in 2007 for his involvement in the Oil for Drugs doping investigation that was centred around doctor Carlo Santuccione. While he was mostly banned during the off-season, he missed a few races at the end of the season and the world championships and missed out on the overall win in the ProTour as a consequence.

 

In 2009 Di Luca was back at his best and rode a fabulous Giro d'Italia where he won two stages and the points jersey and finished 2nd overall. However, it was later revealed that his results had not been obtained in a legal manner as he had tested positive for EPO CERA and he served a 15-month ban that was reduced due to his cooperation with the authorities.

 

Di Luca returned for the 2011 season with the Katusha team but failed to reach any kind of form that was comparable to the one he had shown prior to his suspension. However, he found back to his best one year later in the Acqua e Sapone season and posted several good results in the biggest Italian races.

 

When his team folded, he was left without a contract and at one point it appeared as though his career had come to an end. However, he was thrown a lifeline by the Vini Fantini company who persuaded team manager Luca Scinto to sign him for the team that they sponsored.

 

Di Luca proved to be immediately competitive when he finished in the top 10 in both the GP Industria and the Giro della Toscana and earned a spot of the Giro d'Italia roster. He rode an aggressive race and came close to a stage win on stage 4 where he was caught inside the final kilometre of the stage.

 

With two stages left, it was, however, announced that he had tested positive for EPO in the days that led up to the Italian grand tour and he left the race in disgrace. He now pays the price for the offence as the lifetime ban means that we are unlikely to ever see the 37-year-old back in competition.

 

In the coming weeks, Di Luca and his lawyer will decide whether to appeal his ban.

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