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"I've no regrets at all. I lied. I cheated, I did what had to do to finish first."

Photo: Sirotti

DANILO DI LUCA

RIDER PROFILE
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NEWS
22.04.2016 @ 11:19 Posted by Jesper Ralbjerg

Out of favour Italian rider Danilo Di Luca has written a book about his career and doping, disclosing information of the drugs he took and his reason for taking them.

 

Di Luca was one of the most successful riders of his generation, racing between 1998 and 2013. He won the Giro d'Italia in 2007 and also won many of the hilly classics, including Liege-Bastogne-Liege in 2007.

 

Subsequently, Di Luca was twice banned for doping – first for his involvement in the Oil for Drugs investigation into his local doctor, and then again for EPO in 2009. However, due to his popularity in Italy he was able to make a come back with Vini Fantini who covered his wages and insisted he was given a place in the Vini Fantini-Selle Italia team for the 2013 Giro d'Italia.

 

Then aged 37, Di Luca made an instant impression, riding aggressively during that Giro alongside teammate Mauro Santambrogio. Both would test positive for EPO before or during the Giro d'Italia. Di Luca was given a lifetime ban in December 2013.

 

In an extract from his forthcoming book – called ‘Bestie di Vittoria' – ‘Beasts made for victory', written with Alessandra Carati, Di Luca talks frankly about the moment he was caught, the wide variety of doping products that he used and his reasons for resorting to illicit performance enhancing drugs. The book is published in Italian and due for release on April 26.

 

"If I hadn't doped, I would never have won," Di Luca claims in a chapter excerpt released by the book publisher. "Doping improves your performance between 5 and 7 per cent, and maybe 10 to 12 per cent when you are in a peak shape.

 

"Doping isn't addictive but it's an instrument of power: whoever wins attracts the money; for themselves, the team and the sponsors."

 

Di Luca claims he started doping in 2001 after being beaten by a rider whom he used to defeat as an amateur, and says he used, "Testosterone, EPO, cortisone. The doctor cannot get the prescription so you acquire them on your own, from gyms or via the internet. Inside the sport everyone knows," he writes in an extract published by Italian website Tuttobiciweb.

 

"It's part of the job. If you get caught, then you timed it wrong because everyone knows how many hours must pass before you won't show a positive."

 

No remorse

Di Luca admits he simply got it wrong when he was tested for EPO in an out-of-competition test a few days before leaving for the 2013 Giro d'Italia. He reveals he injected himself with a micro-dose of the latest generation of EPO before going to bed but then was awoken by anti-doping inspectors at 7:30 the next morning. He made sure he urinated before giving the test to pass any traces of the EPO but was caught by a new, refined test that can detect EPO for 24 hours, rather the 6-8 hours most riders believed.

 

“I've no regrets at all. I lied. I cheated; I did what had to do to finish first. But that's not the point, the point is that I didn't dilute my system in time…"

 

If nothing else, Di Luca's frankness is a diferent, some might say refreshing, approach from some of the very lame excuses that other riders have attempted when their doping abuse was revealed. None mentioned, none forgotten.

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