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Traces of EPO found in out of competition test carried out on April 29, Vini Fantini rider now out of the Giro d'Italia

Photo: Sirotti

DANILO DI LUCA

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DOPING

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GIRO D'ITALIA

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VINI ZABU KTM

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24.05.2013 @ 10:54 Posted by Adam Aisen

Danilo Di Luca (Vini Fantini) had promised to make a clean comeback after testing positive for EPO Cera in 2009 but that now appears to be another lie from the 2007 Giro winner. An out-of-competition control carried out on April 29 has shown traces of EPO and the Italian is now out of the Giro d'Italia.

 

Danilo Di Luca has long been a controversial figure in cycling due to his tainted past but the Italian has always claimed to have raced clean since his comeback from a positive test for CERA taken in 2009 when he finished second behind Denis Menchov in the Giro d'Italia. That appears not to have been the truth as an out-of-competition control has now come out positive.

 

The Italian veteran was handed a 2-year suspension in 2009 but subsequent cooperation with the anti-doping authorities saw the ban reduced to 15 months. He made a comeback in the 2011 with the Katusha team where he was even willing to race without receiving any salary but he found it very difficult to get back to his old level and the season ended up as a huge disappointment.

 

He got another chance at the now defunct Acqua e Sapone last year and showed clear signs of improvement. He had a number of notable performances in the hard Italian one-day races, won the GP Nobili Rubinetterie and a stage in the Tour of Austria and finished 2nd in the Italian road race championships.

 

The non-invite to the Giro d'Italia saw the team fold at the end of the season and for a long time the Italian veteran was in limbo, seemingly unable to secure a new contract. However, rumours continued to circulate that he would join the Vini Fantini team prior to the Giro d'Italia and that was exactly what happened - apparently against the wishes of team manager Luca Scinto. He immediately showed that his good form in the GP Industria and Giro della Toscana just days after signing the contract and proved that he was ready to line up in the Giro.

 

In the Italian grand tour he has been a key protagonist, putting in a number of strong attacks. He came close to a stage win in Serra San Bruno on stage 4 and was part of the successful breakaway in stage 11 to Vajont. He last put in a strong attack towards the end of stage 17 on Wednesday and finished 10th in yesterday's mountain time trial.

 

Scinto confirmed the news in an interview with Cyclingnews.

 

"It's true," he said. "He's mad, he's a cretino, he needs treatment. There's nothing else to say. We gave him a second chance and the sponsors put their faith in him and this is how he pays us back. It's crazy that a rider thinks they can get away with it like that."

 

Since it is his second doping case, he will most likely be handed a lifetime ban, finally bringing the career of "the Killer" to an end.

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