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Di Luca should face two-year doping ban

Latest update : 2008-02-28

The Italian Olympic Committee (CONI) announced on Wednesday it was calling on Giro title-holder Danilo Di Luca to serve a two-year ban following a failed doping test in May 2007.

MILAN, Feb 27 (Reuters) - Giro D'Italia champion Danilo Di
Luca should serve a two-year ban for a doping offence, the
Italian Olympic Committee (CONI) said on Wednesday.

The ban, the second brought against the Italian rider in a
matter of months, must be rubber-stamped by a sporting judge and
refers to a doping test he took after the 17th stage of last
year's Giro.

CONI made the surprise announcement on its Web site
( after months of wrangling over whether Di Luca's
results from the test last May had broken any doping rules.

Officials have said his results showed abnormal hormone
levels, which would usually be seen in a child.

"It is a charge conceptually flawed," Di Luca's lawyer
Federico Cecconi told Italy's ANSA news service, adding that the
issues were in no way clear.

"Cases like these are dropped. We risk declaring the total
innocence of Di Luca at the end of a long procedure that harms
in a serious way the professional life of an athlete of his

Di Luca said at the time of the surprise late night test
that he had nothing to hide and was willing to cooperate even
though it was not necessary under the rules.

The 32-year-old, who joined Team LPR from Liquigas in
November, has denied allegations he used a drip during the Giro,
regarded as the second most important stage race behind the Tour
de France.

"I do not have any reason to suspend Di Luca....Only Danilo
could ask me not to compete, so he could concentrate on the
charge," LPR team manager Fabio Bordonali told Italian media.



Di Luca was given a three-month ban by CONI in October for a
related doping matter. He was punished for his involvement with
Carlo Santuccione, a doctor accused of supplying doping products
to athletes.

The rider has always denied any wrongdoing and appealed to
the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) over the original ban.

The test after the 17th stage of the Giro was connected to
the police and anti-doping authorities' probe into Santuccione
and his associates, sources close to the matter said at the

Di Luca was forced to miss September's world championships
in Stuttgart because of the doping probes and was thrown out of
the Pro Tour in October while leading the competition.

Cycling has been rocked by a series of doping scandals in
recent years and Italy has been hit especially hard.

Ivan Basso, Giro winner in 2006, is serving a two-year ban
for his involvement in Spain's Operation Puerto scandal.

Italian Basso denied taking banned substances but admitted
he had intended to commit a doping offence.

Ettore Torri, the anti-doping prosecutor at CONI, has been
on a crusade to clean up cycling but has not always had his own

The Italian Cycling Federation refused his request to ban
Alessandro Petacchi for a year after he tested positive for
salbutamol during the last Giro.

Petacchi argued he used the substance in his asthma inhaler,
for which he had a medical certificate, and that any overuse was
human error. The case is being heard by CAS in April.

Date created : 2008-02-27